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The Role of Media in Oral Hygiene Awareness

The Role of Media in Oral Hygiene Awareness

Discover the alarming rise in oral disease cases & crucial role of media in raising awareness. Explore insightful information in this post.

Muskaan Sachdev (Intern 2022-23)
March, 21 2023
1499

Media in Oral Hygiene

Oral health is an important aspect of overall systemic health. It acts as a mirror portraying the systemic health of a person. It also serves as a vantage point for detecting early symptoms of systemic diseases and deficiencies.

The Global oral health status report given by WHO in 2022 stated that, between 1990 and 2019, estimated case numbers of oral diseases grew by over 1 billion - a 50% increase, higher than the population increase of about 45% during the same period. (1)

Effective oral hygiene practices are well-established in developed countries. In developing countries, there is still a lack of awareness and knowledge about good oral hygiene. (2,3) This has increased the global burden of oral diseases over the past few years.

Hence, interventions need to be undertaken to improve and reinforce oral health awareness. The advent of technology and media in dentistry has increased the awareness of oral hygiene among people and has also developed new ways of interacting with the public.

DPU Dental college student Oral Hygiene Camp

With the recent advancements in technology, it has become convenient to approach the public belonging to various socioeconomic groups in the community.

This has helped to overcome a major barrier in the spread of education and awareness of oral hygiene. Media through television, cinema, newspapers, weekly fliers, and even social media has helped to promote oral health.

One can get all the important information such as the latest available dental product or oral hygiene maintenance methods etc. in a moment.

Various online videos made by dental professionals elaborating on the need to maintain oral hygiene and also showing ways to practice good oral health (e.g., videos demonstrating various tooth brushing techniques, use of dental floss, choice of toothpaste, etc.) are also available.

Educational universities and study groups that build enthusiasm in students to showcase their skills conducted competitive activities such as reel-making, paper, and e-poster presentations and indirectly spread oral hygiene awareness on an online platform.

Virtual Dentist Interaction

Dental blogging is a current popular trend in media that focuses on various aspects of oral health. The scope of blogging has not been limited to spreading awareness about oral hygiene, but it also provides an effective platform for engaging with experts from different countries for academic and research purposes.

Technology in the Dental Field

The period from 2020 to 2021 had been stressful and devastating for everyone around the world because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fear and panic created rumours and immense confusion among the public about the relationship between oral health and Covid-19. Communication had become extremely important during that time period.

It has become necessary for public health professionals and dentists to convey information and the latest updates regarding Covid-19 and its impact on oral health. (4) The use of media to spread awareness came into the limelight during this stage.

Various seminars were conducted in order to influence more people positively. Also, there was a need for tele-mentoring in dentistry to curb panic and fear and communicate the facts pertaining to oral health. (5,6,7)

Pandemic had given us an opportunity to educate the masses about the importance of preventive oral care which was earlier considered as a sidebar in treatment.

Dental Communication

Media provides new opportunities to connect and engage with people from different cultures and help understand problems and provide a variety of solutions for the same.

Private dental practitioners take the opportunity to share enriching information with audiences about dentistry and their practice.

This type of communication builds trust because it provides inherent educational value while also highlighting knowledge of dentistry and quality treatment. This will allow dentists to promote healthy oral habits among patients and establish their credibility.

Teledentistry

Media also plays an important role in showcasing advertisements that promote oral hygiene products. The information displayed in commercial advertisements must be thoroughly researched, before introducing the product in the market.

The credibility of the dentist and companies providing this information must be cross-checked in order to avoid commercials from spreading fake messages.

Care should be taken to consult a dentist before switching to therapeutic products under the influence of these advertisements. Education from social media can be particularly dangerous for students and young dentists.

The work showcased on social media may not be evidence-based or a currently accepted practice. Students, due to a lack of knowledge and clinical experience might get carried away with such information and pass inaccurate or outdated information to the people.

Oral health has usually remained a neglected entity among people from various countries. People have underestimated the consequences of bad oral health, which have led to bigger problems and later on become difficult to treat.

With the changing era, there is a surge in the use of technology and media for communication. People have started taking their oral health seriously.

Innovative ways of delivering oral hygiene services have elevated the interest level among people, thus creating a better perspective of oral hygiene. Social media has displayed huge potential in educating the masses on a large scale.

However, we still need to work on strengthening the aspects of authenticity and standardization of the shared content. It is expected that the combined efforts of the media, dentists, researchers, public health workers and people will upscale their knowledge of oral hygiene and alter their perception in the future.

References

  1. Jain N, Dutt U, Radenkov I, Jain S. WHO’s global oral health status report 2022: Actions, discussion, and implementation. Oral Dis. 2023, Jan 20.
  2. Chandregowda KY, Kumar VD, Shankarappa KB, Anandkumar AH, Ramegowda ABS, Honnegowda DK. Assessment of Dental Caries Status and Oral Hygiene Practices among 6-10-year-old Rural and Urban Schoolchildren in South Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2020;13(4):348–54.
  3. Malakar M, Ravishankar PL, Saravanan AV, Rao KS, Balaji R. Prevalence of Periodontal Disease and Oral Hygiene Practices in Kancheepuram District Population: An Epidemiological Study. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2021 Nov;13(Suppl 2): S1517–22.
  4. Dickson-Swift V, Kangutkar T, Knevel R, Down S. The impact of COVID-19 on individual oral health: a scoping review. BMC Oral Health. 2022 Sep 22;22(1):422.
  5. Subhan R, Ismail WA, Musharraf S, Khan M, Hafeez R, Alam MK. Teledentistry as a Supportive Tool for Dentists in Pakistan. BioMed Res Int. 2021; 2021:8757859.
  6. Ghai S. Teledentistry during COVID-19 pandemic. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020;14(5):933–5.
  7. Raja KP, Pal A, Nayak SU, Pai K, Shenoy R. Teledentistry: a new oral care delivery tool among Indian dental professionals - a questionnaire study. F1000Research. 2022; 11:666.

 

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