How health coaching can improve dental care

February 13th, 2014

Maintaining dental health requires daily upkeep, like brushing and flossing. However, when patients have preexisting conditions that leave them more susceptible to oral problems, the typical measures usually aren't enough. That's what a new study from the University of Copenhagen found when researchers examined nearly 200 hundred patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Patients who were more susceptible to oral health problems require additional attention, which is possible through innovative technologies, like dental academic software.  

The point of the report was to determine the effectiveness of health coaching in patients who were lacking in one particular aspect of their own personal health – in this case dental hygiene. Diabetics are prone to developing oral disorders,as well as more serious problems like periodontitis, according to a press release from the university . Patients regularly complained of dry mouth, fungal infections and mouth sores. Wounds were also slow to heal.

To improve personal dental care, researchers split the subjects into two groups and then provided one with standard care literature while the other was offered more comprehensive motivational health coaching.

"In the group of patients who were given personal health coaching, biological markers for periodontitis , also known as 'loose teeth disease' were reduced by as much as 50 percent  over a six-month period," Ayse Basak Cinar, assistant professor and health coach, said in the press release. "Moreover, the patients in the coaching group expressed markedly increased self-efficacy in relation to handling illness and health issues."

What the study ultimately shows is that clinics can help patients by engaging them about their own personal care. However, without an adequate communications infrastructure, staying connected with each patient can be exceedingly difficult.

Bettering oral care with dental software
Dental academic software allows dentists and support staff to not only exchange information between one another but also share with clients. By adopting the system, organizations can streamline transactional processes with patients. People can schedule and re-schedule appointments using an easily accessible online portal. Dental software includes builtin billing and documentation applications that shore up time for dentists to spend interacting with patients.

Clinics are also able to open up communications with clients, allowing for better patient-dentist dialogue. Staff can share test results, educational information and even industry news that might be relevant to their particular situation. University of Copenhagen researchers demonstrated the value of health coaching for diabetics, but the same logic can and should be applied universally to all patients. Leveraging the technical advantages of dental school software, clinics have the opportunity to engage everyone in their own dental care.

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