Only Education Can Eliminate Self Treatment

Only Education Can Eliminate Self Treatment

By Carl T. Grove, D.D.S.


                Both Medicine and Dentistry have long looked with disfavor on the habit of self treatment by the public. Patients often neglect minor disturbances until serious damage is done.

Physicians Educate Patients

The medical profession through well planned health education has instilled in the minds of the people the dangers of this neglect and the obvious inadequacy of self treatment. They have accomplished this through press publicity and personal advice and explanations by physicians.

Because dentists have not advised patients on dental health measures, many patients still look upon the dentist as a last resort to relieve pain and repair damage. Patients have had very little explained to them about the ways and means to preserve mouth health and what to do and use to attain it, and they do not realize the full value of dental care.

If dentists would explain dental health to patients and aid them in their selection of known and reliable dental products, patients would regard the periodic dental examination as an important procedure. All of the advice necessary for the institution of dental health measures should be imparted.

Oral hygiene has long been known to be a practical means for the prevention of dental disease and it is only through this means that we have made any progress up to a few years ago. Since then, the study of nutrition and dietetics as a preventive measure has been developed in a practical way, and the benefits from nutritional therapy are being constantly noted.

We cannot lose sight of the benefits derived from oral hygiene as we develop the nutritional phase of preventive therapy. The two must go hand in hand. As we progress, we must progress with balance. Without the cleansing and stimulating effect of oral hygiene measures, failure in preventive measures must result.

Because dentistry is so rapidly developing there is a growing need for a greater service on the part of the dentist to the patient public.

This service does not require more technical work for less money, but it does demand more professional advice from the practitioner to the patient pertaining to dental health measures.

We have just received a letter from a prominent leader in dentistry, commending Nutrition and Dental Health for its broad viewpoint as pertains to preventive dentistry.

This dentist believes as we do, that dental health is a broad term, and that if success is to be obtained we must study the situation and impart our decisions to our patients.


Public, Confused on Dental Health Measures

Consider how confusing the advances made in dentistry are to the public. Their meager understanding of dental problems is not sufficient for them to decide what measures they may use to maintain dental health. Some people feel that an adjusted diet is of little value because they believe they are receiving sufficient food. Others have gained the idea that oral hygiene is of no further use because nutrition has gained such progress. We must inform patients as to the true status of preventive dentistry. Dental health education must come from dentistry and one of the most successful means for such education is advice of dentists to patients.