By JONATHAN FINE
New research shows 91 per cent of adults realise poor oral care leads to a decline in the health of teeth and gums.
Impressive, but hardly surprising – after all, people get lectured about it every time they visit the dentist, while adverts for toothpaste, mouthwash, floss and toothbrushes endlessly repeat the message on TV (not a particularly hard one to grasp in any case…).
The really interesting thing though is that nearly half of adults still don’t brush and floss properly.
This is something akin to a miracle for dental practices trading in hygiene appointments, because you get to position yourself as that rare thing, a dentist who actually understands how their patients lives really are. You’re a dentist who won’t nag people to look after themselves, you’ll look for ways to help them in light of the facts (the main one being nagging doesn’t work).
Assuming you have capacity (this might mean converting that store room full of junk into a hygiene room and hiring another hygienist), here’s what to do…
- Send a mail-shot. Tell your existing patients in a mail-shot that, in response to the latest research by GSK on 10,000 adults, you want to help by making it easier for them to see a hygienist four times a year. Ask them to tick a box at the bottom of the email if they would like to be automatically booked in to quarterly appointments and sent automated texts and emails confirming their appointments. Include some of the findings that were made in the GSK research:
- 45 per cent of adults fail to brush their teeth at night
- 28 per cent use only water to brush while 14 per cent use their finger
- Only 24 per cent floss daily
- 44 per cent admit they could take better care of their oral health
- 67 per cent have experienced tooth decay or cavities
- Add a landing page. Add a new page to your practice website and a prominent tab on your homepage, both with the CTA: “Click here for your free hygiene appointment.” Use the page to set out, as you did in the mail-shot, why you want to help: you believe automated quarterly hygiene bookings will make a difference and you’d like to welcome new patients by offering the first one free. Allocate a monthly budget for pay per click and SEO to promote the landing page page and draw traffic.
Good luck, and let me know if I can help.