Hello again and welcome to the third part of my seven part series.
In this issue, we will look at the dental hygiene model and discuss how the practice of dentistry went from a group who primarily provided a removal service for dead and decaying teeth to a very professional and well-trained group of doctors who have developed the strongest wellness-based health care system in the world.
It is a little known fact that the American Medical Association’s defense against quackery was, at the very least, co-written by dental professionals and more likely co-funded. It is absolutely certain that some of the same companies and industries that count on the perpetuation of the "drug and cut" sick care system are also deeply interested in the perpetuation of the dental hygiene model, as well as the "drill and fill" system of acute dental care. Which industry do you think was and will forever push for the fluoridation of water and toothpaste—possibly the chemical and drug companies? The point I am trying to make is, it was not the dental association, in and of themselves, that was able to capitalize on the social value system they have created of twice a year dental checkups and twice a day brushing and flossing. I’m not saying that there is necessarily anything wrong with the idea of taking good care of your teeth and gums. In fact, I believe that it is one of the best things we can do to ensure we keep our choppers for as long as possible.
The dental health field has undergone many changes and evolutions in the past century and, through these adaptations, they have realized that, for dental health to improve, public consciousness and professional responsibility must be the cornerstone of their efforts.
I can’t pin down the exact year that dental professionals started providing dental hygiene education in schools, but most of you reading this article will remember having the dentist or hygienist bring little red tablets to your classroom. After chewing them, your teeth turned red in some places, right? You all know what that meant. If you said plaque, you are correct. Do any of us have any idea what plaque is or if it is desirable? Of course you know what it is, that it is not desirable and, more importantly, you know it is not good for children. If you have children, what is the biggest battle you are all willing to fight before bed each night with them? Yes—brushing their teeth. Why do we do that? Because we learned well and understood the message and teachings we were provided in school.
Here is a statement from Cheryl Chapman at the University of Arkansas Little Rock when talking about their dental hygiene program: "Without the dental hygiene program, these children would not have dental exams. When we take the vans to the schools to load up for a trip to UAMS, those kids fight over who gets to go to the dentist." © 2003 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
I believe that, if we do the right thing and take the professional high road, we will someday be afforded the same opportunities that dentistry enjoys today. It is about more then teaching children. It is about creating the level of consciousness for a whole society where the importance of spinal and nervous system balance is recognized as being so important that you are sought after to bring health and wellness information to the children in your community. In any community, the most valued and honored group of citizens are the children. More time, energy, and money are spent on this segment of the population than any other. Isn’t it a shame that the leadership in your community is ignorant to the fact that you offer more to the future of your community than any other health care professional can?
In the next four segments, I will focus on how you can highlight your skills, knowledge, and leadership to become a valued and respected resource for your community and increase the utilization of chiropractic and serve more people. We will talk about civic, economic, and social leadership and help you understand why this is so important to you, your community, and chiropractic.
Dr. Slocum is a 1993 graduate of Logan College in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a fourth generation chiropractor, the eleventh member of his family to practice chiropractic.
Dr. Slocum and his partner, Rok A. Morin, D.C., are co-creators of Learning Curves™, a three-tier community education and marketing program for the chiropractic profession. Drs. Slocum and Morin lecture on a national basis to chiropractors encouraging them to spread awareness of chiropractic in their communities. Go to www.learningcurves.us, e-mail
or call 1-800- 613-2528 for more information.