Peer to Peer: GUM Soft-Picks and GUM Proxabrush Go-Betweens
Katie Kupczyk has given up recommending floss to her patients in most treatment plans because she finds they don't use it, and since they feel guilty about that, they wind up with a negative outlook about their homecare. She found that her patients are willing to try using GUM Proxabrush Go-Betweens and GUM Soft-Picks, and they come back empowered and with improved oral health. Here, she explains why.
It's no secret that patients don't floss. Everyone recommends flossing, but patients just don't do it. There are dexterity issues with flossing, and some people don't want to put their hands in their mouths. It's also time-consuming and a hard routine to get into. Truthfully, I don't even recommend floss to my patients anymore. More than likely, it gets stored in a drawer. I recommend GUM Proxabrush Go-Betweens and GUM Soft-Picks from Sunstar Americas to adolescents up through the elderly.
To personalize care for my patients, I ask open-ended questions to find out when there is downtime in their day. I ask how they prefer to clean in between their teeth, and educate patients that toothbrush heads cannot reach interproximally to debride plaque biofilm. It is in those spaces where inflammation begins and thrives as the bacteria can colonize undisturbed, and the location where most gingivitis and gum disease begin. Most patients tell me their only downtime is when they're driving. So I say, "Perfect! They are going in your car."
I like to focus on 2 things when recommending treatment: convenience and confidence. If the patient feels confident with what they have in their hand, they'll use it more often. I present different care options, which always includes Soft-Picks and Go-Betweens. I have patients sit up with a mirror and try using them. I love for them to experience just how easy and effective Go-Betweens and Soft-Picks are to use.
Clinical research has shown that Soft-Picks are proven to remove as much dental plaque as traditional floss and greatly reduce the risk of early stage gum disease. As early as the first 3- to 6-month recall appointment, we can see and measure a drastic improvement in the amount of plaque in the mouth, decreased interproximal bleeding on probing, and they feel a lot better about themselves.
Since these products come in different sizes, you can customize them to the needs of your patients. We show them how to clean around an implant, a fixed lingual appliance, or a permanent restoration, which might necessitate using different sizes together. Both products have flexible bristles and nonslip handles to facilitate cleaning hard-to-reach areas. I explain how the Go-Betweens have soft bristles that have an antimicrobial coating to help keep the brush clean and hygienic between uses, and how they pick up more plaque in between their teeth and restorations. Restorations such as crowns, implants, orthodontic appliances, and bridges all have a miniscule margin around them, and the increase in surface area of the triangular brushes covers more ground. My patients love Go-Betweens and Soft-Picks. They're convenient and they're a onehanded operation that can be done anywhere, without a mirror. Putting something in their hands that they like to use is a rewarding feeling for a hygienist, but the best part is the confidence for the patient.
KATHRYN KUPCZYK, BS, BSDH, RDH
Kathryn received her Bachelor of Science Degree in biology with a concentration in microbiology from DePaul University, where she performed and presented at several research symposiums in Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Dental Hygiene Degree from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, where she minored in business. An active member of ADHA and Sigma Pi Alpha, she currently works full time in private practice in Crystal Lake, IL. She is also an independent product consultant and research-based author published in RDH magazine.