By: Julie Seager, RDH, BSDH
Earlier this month at the California Dental Association in Anaheim, hundreds of dentists and hygienists came to the Spry booth to tell us how much they love xylitol and that they recommend it all the time to their patients. My genuinely curious response to them was “Great! Are you noticing any difference in your patient’s mouths?” Too often the reply was “Well, no. Not really.” As the conversations continued, I noticed a similar pattern realized that if dental professionals knew how incredibly powerful xylitol is, and how easy it is to use, they would be excited to implement it into a home-care regimen for their patients. I started thinking of what we, as clinicians, can do to easily implement xylitol into our patient’s home-care regimens and really see a difference. Here are five ways to get this started in your practice:
1) Make sure all office team members have the same knowledge and training about xylitol.
“We are only as strong as our weakest link.” Everyone from the front-office manager to the dentist should participate in learning about xylitol. Our team of Professional Educators provides complimentary learning sessions on many different aspects of xylitol use. The most popular courses we offer are:
- “Xylitol 101” This course covers the history and science on using xylitol for caries reduction.
- “The Nasal & Respiratory Benefits of Xylitol” explains in detail why using xylitol in a nasal spray is so helpful in inhibiting allergies, sinus infections, and ear infections, and promoting nasal breathing.
- “What Does pH Have to Do with It?” gives a better understanding of xylitol’s critical role in maintaining a balanced oral pH.
- “Developing a Xylitol Protocol” shows examples of how easy it can be to use xylitol five times a day for reduction of not only dental decay, but tissue inflammation caused by periodontal pathogens.
All courses are worth one Continuing Education credit and attendees are provided with product samples for personal use. Visit www.XylitolEducators.com to see the full course listing and contact the Xylitol Education Manager for your area.
2) Keep some products chairside so they can be used throughout the patient’s appointment.
“Don’t lay the chair back, I can’t breathe through my nose today.” How many times have you heard that? Once an office team has taken our CE course, “The Nasal & Respiratory Benefits of Xylitol,” they often start giving patients a sample of Xlear Nasal Spray to be used pre-procedure. Within minutes of spraying their nose, the airway will open and patients will be able to breathe comfortably through their nose. This is a huge help during hygiene appointments for patients who choke on water from the ultrasonic scaler because they are mouth-breathing. Or, next time you bring back a partial denture from the ultrasonic bath, spray it with some Moisturizing Mouth Spray to take away the taste of the chemical cleanser and to clear away any remaining bacteria or candida that could be hiding in the acrylic.
3) Provide samples for your patients to try before they even leave the office.
So many times our patients are preoccupied, nervous, or in a hurry, and our recommendations are forgotten as soon as they leave the operatory. My strategy is to talk about xylitol while my patient is in the chair, and when the appointment is over I open a packet of mints or gum and give it to them. Almost without fail, when the patient tastes the product I hear, “and where did you say I can buy this?” Not only does the patient leave with a good taste in his or her mouth (literally), but you’ve created an “Ah Ha!” moment in their dental experience.
4) Keep products in-office to sell to your patients.
It’s nice to be able to help your patients select the xylitol products best suited towards their needs, and most often, the practices that have the product on hand see the best compliance from their patients. If this is not practical, there is a store locator tab on the homepage of xlear.magecom.us for nearby retail stores. And, as so many of us do now, go online with your patients and find a retailer with great prices and free shipping – your patient will appreciate your conscientiousness!
5) Provide informational literature and an easy-to-follow home protocol example.
Call the Xlear Customer Care department at 1-877-599-5327 for product brochures and patient literature. Tear-off coupon pads for the Xlear Nasal Spray and the Spry Oral Care products are also available to dental offices that refer patients to retail stores. Some xylitol brochures are also available in Spanish. Example patient protocols can be found at www.XylitolEducators.com and printed for your patient before they leave your operatory.