LORY LAUGHTER, RDH, BS
My web weaving of late might seem random - a variety of needs and interests lead to several open web pages at once. This month's sharing comes from sites that solve a need, provide a solution, and exist just for fun.
One of my responsibilities at the general practice where I work is to create educational materials for patients. This often involves combining information from several sources into one page for quick reading. Occasionally an online resource provides exactly what I need, allowing me to move right to printing and laminating. Similar tools exist on the Internet for dental professionals to assist with education, diagnosis, and treatment planning. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when the spokes are already there.
Hyposalivary function and xerostomia are concerns in our line of work. Dry mouth can be caused by a number of factors or the source can be unknown. On the ADHA website, you can download a screening tool to help determine the risk for reduced salivary levels. Found at http://www.adha.org/downloads/Hyposalivation.pdf, the document helps in gathering information associated with dry mouth. It helps to educate patients and practitioners alike. It's one more tool for teaching about the oral-systemic link.
While you are on the ADHA site, take a few minutes to read what your professional organization is doing for you, member or not. Scroll down the home page for the press release that states that CODA will require a feasibility study for new dental hygiene programs. Access the story at http://www.adha.org/news/02032012-CODA.htm.
Press releases, articles, and even blog entries found on the web need to be shared more often among colleagues and patients. While printing copies to hand out in the office is one way to distribute important news, social media makes sharing easier, faster, and less detrimental to trees. Many sites, including DentistryIQ.com, allow you to share stories via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. One I recommend posting to every wall, status, and newsfeed is found at http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2012/06/nearly-half-of-american-parents-say-their-childs-teeth-have-never-been-flossed.html. Not only does the article point to a problem in children's oral health - 35% of children brush less than twice a day and almost half have never flossed - it gives tips for improving these dismal statistics. Clicking your preferred source for sharing is simple with the icons that are situated at the top of the article.
Following blogs can be addictive, especially if you are prone to commenting on every topic. Blogs stimulate thought, provide education, and may even cause you to chuckle. One blog I follow closely on DentistryIQ.com is from Mark Hartley. His topics are varied and always to the point. Take time to read his posting from December 2011 about cell phone use in the operatory. If chatty or texting patients are a concern for you, Mark has the perfect answer at http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/profile/MarkHartley.
Many patients during recent weeks have had lots of questions about halitosis. Maybe there is an epidemic of smelly tonsils, or perhaps some TV commercial or talk show host has struck up the conversation, but I've answered more inquiries and heard more myths about bad breath than at any time in my career. Products are abundant to help combat this stinky issue, but the root cause of odor is still a mystery to many people. One site that provides education and suggestions for eliminating halitosis with minimal obvious product placement is Livestrong.com, which presents five things everyone should know about halitosis. The page is also a guide for further research. By scrolling down, readers can access related searches, related topics, and even see what others are reading about bad breath.
For those times when you need a little break from the seriousness of our profession, check out the Twitter account of DentalJokes at http://twitter.com/#!/dentaljokes. Not every tweet on the page is hilarious, but most of them cause me to smile. Chuck Norris-isms are a favorite among my family, so when I read "Chuck Norris' teeth floss themselves," I laughed and retweeted immediately.
Next time you're searching the web for serious, career changing, or health-promoting research, remember to take a little time to laugh.
LORY LAUGHTER, RDH, BS, practices clinically in Napa, Calif. She is owner of Dental IQ, a business responsible for the Annual Napa Dental Experience. Lory combines her love for travel with speaking nationally on a variety of topics.