dental cleaningSocial media is a good way of feeling the pulse of the community. Facebook can tell me, for example, how many women over 40 in Canada read Prevention Magazine or Women’s Health Magazine, and who also mention “dentist” or “hygienist” in their social media conversations. (That number is about 1.7 million!)

There is a new service called Treato which monitors social media for views on healthcare — it calls itself the voice of the patient. And some sample size it has too! Treato monitors over 313 million people, 2 billion posts online, and almost 15,000 medical conditions.

So I entered the phrase “dental cleaning” into Treato’s search engine, to see what all these patients might be saying about this dental service.

Here are the dominant descriptors associated with dental cleaning:

  • 2.7 million posts used the term “infection”
  • 2.4 million posts used the term “bleeding”
  • 1.1 million posts used the term “stiffness”
  • and 0.3 million posts used “tooth paste”

What I find puzzling is that the key words ” oral health” and “overall health” were not reported by Treato as being significantly associated with dental cleaning. Rather, negative imagery was most reported on social media.

As many as 1 in 3 adults have anxiety about professional dental care. This word association exercise on Treato seems to touch on this problematic emotion.

How can the hygiene experience turn away from “stiffness”, “bleeding” and “infection” to where it needs to be — generating phrases such as “overall health” on social media?

That is the focus of our Partners in Prevention outreach program.

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