Dental Hygiene

In a new study published today in the Journal of Periodontologyresearchers found that using psychological techniques to communicate the risk of developing a periodontal disease to patients improved dental hygiene over a three month period. It was further with reduced scores for gum inflammation as well.

The over 12 weeks

1. Dental plaque reduced significantly in the two groups with whom risk was communicated, but not in the “treatment as usual” group.
2. The percentage of areas that bled on examination (gum inflammation) reduced in all groups; but the effect was more pronounced in the groups that received the psychological intervention.
3. Frequency of interdental cleaning improved only in the intervention groups
Lead author Dr. Koula Asimakopoulou: “Their study shows that by adopting a simple psychological intervention, aided by the use of an online risk assessment tool; but they can significantly improve measurable clinical outcomes and reduce initial signs of gum disease in patients seen routinely in General Dental Practice.”

The health information

Dr. Matthew Nolan, the dental practitioner who delivered the intervention noted; “Shaping how health information is to our patients appears to influence their subsequent behavior. Therefore patients are naturally concerned about their risk of periodontal disease; so they have found that coupling their concern with a structured discussion of coping strategies and simple behavior change techniques, but may a useful driving force in improving health outcomes within a routine dental consultation.”
Dr. Mark Ide: “This paper is interesting as it builds on research out at King’s to show how useful patient-focused health care; intervention can in the real-life primary care setting.” “At a time when the best way to improve the periodontal health of the majority of people is considered; in conclusion, this paper demonstrates how interdisciplinary teams of psychologists; therefore dentists working together can deliver improvements in patients’ oral health and periodontal status. Good daily oral care is a core element of achieving and maintaining good oral health; this may have an impact on other aspects of health as well.”