Dental Patient Mentoring: Why Shaming Your Patients Doesn’t Work



Tooth brushing, eating habits, and overall health-enhancing behaviors are formed early in life. In childhood, parents and the extended family or community teach and coach body health techniques while consciously or subconsciously passing on what they themselves have learned.


Adults, for example, might be aware of the negative effects of fast food, but they still intuitively pull over at a fast-food joint, recalling special occasions as a child. The positive imprint in the brain might be formed when caretakers used fast food as gratification. This can be a problem in adulthood as fast food is unhealthy nourishment, but also linked to positive childhood memories and raised serotonin levels.


The same is true for dental hygiene. I believe it’s time to further evangelize and inspire a shift in practice from shaming to encouraging and mentoring patients.

The Guilt Trip