Oral health is important, and not just because people like to have clean, sparkling teeth. Ensuring that a patient’s teeth are free from cavities and that their gums are healthy means a better quality of life for those patients; likewise, regular checkups can ensure a patient’s mouth has no indicators for any other possible health concerns like hypertension or diabetes.
However, it’s all too easy to overlook things during the course of a day spent examining patients’ oral health. Thankfully there are ways to fine-tune your approach to good dental health by examining federally and state-gathered health statistics made available to the public and to dental health professionals. Here’s how you can use data to improve oral health behavior and treatment.
Focus on Regional Data
99% of the information provided by organizations like the Centers for Disease Control are unlikely to be specific to where you live and work. That being said, you can easily filter data results to your state – and in some cases, even your general region. This can help you identify common health trends in your area such as the general percentage of people who visit their dentist at least once a year. In some cases, you might be able to break the data down by age and gender, making it easier to target certain demographics to encourage better oral health behaviors.
Other important regional data issues can be whether your local area provides fluoridated water, if its municipal water source is un-fluoridated, or if a certain percentage of households in your region use groundwater wells instead. Knowing this information can help dentists to ensure patients receive enough fluoridation to protect their dental health through other means, such as the use of fluoride toothpaste, prescription oral supplements or other protective orthodontic treatments. Click here to see more.
Helping Those who Need It Most
Data analysis can also help identify portions of the population that need the most assistance in ensuring their dental health. Beyond just age and gender, statistics can reveal race and ethnicity trends, as well as the rates that individuals and families below specific economic thresholds visit their dentist. This data can be invaluable for those looking to make a difference in populations that have socioeconomic hurdles to overcome.
Good dental health should not be the exclusive purview of the affluent or limited to just one ethnicity. Identifying underserved communities provides opportunities for targeted approaches to dental health, either through education or lower-cost dental services for those without the wherewithal to afford them or who do not have sufficient insurance coverage to bear the cost. Families with children especially need additional support, as good dental health behaviors established in childhood are crucial for stronger oral health during adulthood.
These are just a few ways how data analysis and good oral health behavior are linked. Using these tools to fine-tune approaches to dental health benefits both patients and dentists alike and should be just one of the many in the resources used by oral health professionals.