Now is the time for dental teams to become leaders in health

2019 12 19 18 30 5810 Lab Scientists Diverse 400

Critical thinkers are what we need in dentistry and healthcare, now and in the future. The ability to assess a crisis and act accordingly is a trait worth developing.

No one is born with the ability to know how to act at all times. This kind of critical thinking must be taught and is supported by good information and exemplary leadership. And leaders inside and outside of the dental office require education.

Why I'm leaning into dental health education

Dr. James V. Anderson.Dr. James V. Anderson.

Every member of a dental team wants to help patients achieve and maintain optimal health throughout their life. During the rage of the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that those who were the healthiest had a better chance of survival and a quicker recovery from COVID-19 (and its mutations) versus those whose health was fair or poor. The fittest individuals applied their knowledge to keep themselves and their families safe.

Last October, my company, eAssist Dental Solutions, launched the Dental Health Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization, to spread awareness of the importance of dental cleanings. It was the perfect time, because COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 variants have helped inform the public about the devastating impact inflammation has on the body.

Specifically, the public is becoming more aware how systemic inflammation -- which can be caused by oral inflammation due to a lack of dental cleanings -- can increase one's susceptibility to contracting COVID-19 and making it more challenging to fight off. Moreover, inflammation is a precursor to diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart and lung disease, dementia and Alzheimer's, pancreatic cancer, stroke, and more.

As dental professionals, we want everyone to have this lifesaving knowledge. And through the foundation, we will educate patients about the critical importance of regular teeth cleanings to eliminate oral inflammation and help prevent myriad health issues exacerbated by and caused by gum disease.

The foundation's educational initiatives are still in development, but they include the following objectives:

  • Provide educational videos for dental offices to use -- royalty-free -- to educate patients about how oral health correlates with one's overall health and wellness
  • Share scientifically researched articles via the website
  • Connect the dental community through the dissemination of peer testimonials, insights, and recommendations

Dentists and hygienists have long known about the connection between oral health and overall wellness, which they continually emphasize to their patients. The scientific research is all there demonstrating the close relationship between poor oral hygiene and a surprising number of severe medical conditions. This new COVID-19 world is the perfect time to launch our education foundation to help patients help themselves and stay their healthiest.

Our mission is to educate the world that dental hygiene is foundational to healthy living by helping people understand the connection between dental health and overall health and the essential nature of regular dental cleanings.

Even if you don't join the foundation, you know that dental teams are leaders in health. From taking a patient's blood pressure reading to recognizing the risk factors for heart disease, we do so much more than remove stains and repair teeth. Dental care plays a pivotal role in overall wellness. Now is the time for dental practices to take up this leadership charge and share this information.

Dr. James V. Anderson is a practicing dentist in Syracuse, UT, and is the CEO and founder of eAssist Dental Solutions. He can be reached via email.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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