Learning About Patient Education and Communication Strategies in Oral Health Care Delivery Systems

When it comes to health and social marketing, it is essential to consider the general communication objectives of the intervention and understand the target population. This way, the content created is relevant and adapted to the communication channel used. To ensure a wider reach, multiple communication and media strategies should be employed. Video is an effective, accessible, and low-cost method for delivering health education messages to a broad audience.

Dental waiting rooms offer an opportunity to provide oral health education interventions on video to receptive viewers. In this study, our objective is to evaluate video education on oral health with respect to patient preferences and their ability to change the health behaviors expected both immediately and sustainably by the patients themselves. If properly trained and as allowed by state dental office laws, navigators can provide oral health counseling and potentially offer services for the evaluation, screening, and prevention of oral health risks. Financing and reimbursement systems may need to be changed to facilitate prevention-oriented and evidence-based dental care. We have also discovered a connection between greater health literacy and better communication between the patient and the dentist, which in turn corresponded to the patterns of regular dentistry. In addition to the frequently reported effects of gender, race, education, financial security, and access to dental care, it is important to consider the influence of health literacy and the quality of communication between patient and dentist on oral health. The National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) organized a workshop on oral health literacy in 2004. The workshop examined a framework for studying the relationships between oral health literacy and other intervention points, summarized available evidence, identified research gaps, and provided a map for future work.

Educational brochures and pamphlets for patients currently available from NIDCR and the National Institutes of Health were also reviewed. Gauger and colleagues conducted an exhaustive review of integrative and collaborative care models for dentistry and primary care. The review was restricted to programs that provided preventive services with a system for comprehensive dental care either on-site or off-site. The resulting implementation guide provides general recommendations on strategies to improve interaction between medical and dental systems. The third recommendation of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concerned professional education on best practices of communication between patient and provider with the aim of informing an increasingly diverse population about the prevention of oral cancer, periodontal disease, and dental caries. There is limited research in the literature that studies the process of dental referral to primary care, particularly the interface between primary health care and private dental offices.

The frequency of referrals between primary health care providers and dental care providers is low but increasing. Video messages should be considered for dental waiting rooms as they have been found to be effective in significantly altering and maintaining self-reported health behaviors in terms of frequency of eating sweets and use of different oral care tools to maintain oral health. These are essential elements for reducing oral diseases and improving oral health.

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