Christmas Came Early

dental-revelations-blog

Philips Sonicare forever!

I got bribed today. Big time. Remember the representative who got to the wrong side of me? If not, visit here to read the story before you continue further.

I said she was not going to visit our practice if it was up to me. Well, turns out it wasn’t up to me. The others wanted her to come. We had run out of toothpaste samples because the toothpaste manufacturers have started to be rather stingy recently. Perhaps the economic depression has hit them as well? I have noticed this phenomenon also at the dental show cases. Couple of years ago you could get lots of freebies but this year you needed to fill in a questionnaire or a competition to receive one travel sized tube of toothpaste. I didn’t bother.

Anyway, I was not looking forward to this rep coming to our practice as the previous meeting did not go that well. And when she came in, I realised she thought so as well.

First she complemented me about my looks. She did not compliment anybody else. And for your information I do not look like Snow White and the rest of the staff like the seven Dwarfs. So my interpretation of this was that she was trying to break the ice.

Then she began the presentation. Having learned my lesson last time I only listened and did not ask anything. I replied if she asked me a question.

I must say the new electric toothbrush she was demoing to us was quite impressive. It was up-to-date with the smart phone application and the position detection. The only questionable feature was the smart phone holder. It has a suction cup that is supposed to hold my 700+$smart phone at the hight of my face. I dared to ask about it and the rep said it will hold any smart phone as long as the surface is smooth and clean (should be preferably wiped with alcohol prior attaching the holder to the tiles or a mirror – but still I would not attach my smart phone to the holder).

Then she moved on to the toothpastes. Oh dear god how many different kinds of toothpastes they had. Too many in my opinion. The professionals won’t remember which one was for which problem and the patients will be even more confused – like one of my patient said to me

“I went to look for the sensitive one but couldn’t find it anymore. Instead there was so many new ones that I did not buy anything.”

Turns out that they have discontinued the sensitive one. Why didn’t they stick to the one that was supposed to deal with all the problems in mouth?

Then she gave us samples of one of the new toothpastes. She wanted us to try it out and report to her what we thought about it. Naturally she praised the toothpaste while I was browsing through the ingredients. Zinc lactate! Zinc in toothpastes can cause dry mouth. I felt the urge to mention it but remembered our last meeting when I did so. So I stayed silent.

But then came the grande finale. She took out the new, top of the line electric toothbrush and handed it to me with words

“I’m afraid I have only one of these to give out and I thought that it should be you.”

I felt the others staring at me in disbelief but all I could do was to look at the shiny and sleek black packaging she was handing to me. And without hesitation I accepted the gift.

Now, I am not sure what all of this meant. Was she trying to make up the last encounter? Or was she trying to convert me? Could she remember out of hundreds of customers that I am THE ONE not using their toothbrush? That would be scary.

If she tried to convert me, she could not have picked a worse target. I may accept gifts, try them out as expected but I cannot be bribed. I doubt there will ever be better electric toothbrush than my beloved Philips Sonicare.

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Hands up Who Knew That Zinc in Toothpaste Can Cause Dry Mouth?

Dental Revelations Blog-4039

I have noticed it is very easy for a health care professional to get annoyed about different things by just browsing through dental forums and discussion sections of dental news.

This time it was the toothpaste.

Especially the toothpastes of certain big brand that promise all sorts of things but have side effects the representatives sweep under the carpet by saying casually

It’s perfectly safe to use

It’s normal

Yeah, peeling off the mucosa in your mouth is normal. I wouldn’t be so sure. Especially with the patients who have a sensitive mouth.

The salesmen of the manufacturers of oral hygiene products would sell their granny to promote their products. They can tell a fib or even lie to your face without loosing a good night’s sleep. All they want to achieve is that you will start to recommend their products. This is enhanced by giving the practices boxes and boxes of free samples which I have written about in my previous post Can you trust the recommendations given to you by a dental professional?

Are We Fooled by the Representatives and Adverts?

I remember an occasion when a representative of this big company came to my practice to introduce new products. These new all-in-one toothpastes. There were many different toothpastes in the same product family. One for everyone even though the first all-in-one toothpaste introduced not so long before these new ones was supposed to be the one to deal with e-v-e-r-y problem one could have. Slightly confusing I think.

Anyway, the rep went through these new toothpastes and recommended the sensitive version also for the sufferers of dry mouth. Then on the next sentence she mentioned that this sensitive toothpaste contains zinc…

Rather boring session got my interest immediately. Dry mouth and zinc? You got to be kidding me?

We dental professionals know our business. Every detail of it. Well at least I hope most of us do. Despite this I have noticed that many dental professionals are fooled by these selling speeches representatives give and do not notice that the things coming out of their mouths are simply bogus.

So I looked around to see if anyone else was looking puzzled? If anyone was about to say something? No, not a chance. They were just leaning back on their chairs with empty eyes staring at the products. But I couldn’t keep quiet. I never really have learned to keep my thoughts to myself especially if somebody is talking nonsense.

So I raised my hand to get a say (and I swear I could see my colleague roll her eyes meaning here we go again). The rep looked surprised.

Me: Did you say this toothpaste is for people with dry mouth?
Rep: Yes I did.
Me: And it has zinc in it?
Rep: Yes it has.
Me: But the zinc associated with dry mouth, isn’t it? It can make the dry mouth worse.
Rep: Err, I must say I do not have an answer for you now. But let me get back to you on that. What’s your e-mail address? I’ll find out and send you an e-mail as soon as possible.

A typical diversion from the subject. About month later I received an e-mail which said:

Hello,

I remember you asked something about the sensitive toothpaste. Care to clarify what was you specific question? All the toothpastes are well researched and tested. They are widely recommended by the dentists. Bla-bla-bla…

Yours truly,

Representative-that-will-not-come-to-my-practice-again-if-it’s-up-to-me.

Knowing Your Business in Depth

Now I must tell you that I did not know that zinc in toothpaste can be a culprit to dry mouth until another rep of another big oral hygiene product manufacturer (wouldn’t it be easier if I just told you which company?!) told me so couple of years ago.

I had recently tested their toothpaste for halitosis and got extremely dry mouth (honestly, I thought I will die of thirst between brushing my teeth and reaching the office in the morning). When I asked the rep about it she said that it could be due to the zinc in the toothpaste and asked me to file an adverse event report. She even gave me the document to fill in.

I was impressed. Not about the Sahara-Desert-in-mouth toothpaste but about the honest rep who could tell me something I didn’t know.

Since then it’s not been just once or twice that I have found out that my patient who is suffering from a dry mouth is using a toothpaste containing zinc.

The dentistry is constantly evolving. It is hard to keep up to it but we must. It is the only way we can give the correct advice to the patients.

Conclusion

It just occurred to me that I might be taking the visits of the representatives of oral hygiene products the wrong way. Perhaps it is accustomed way to let the reps babble away without questioning what they are saying. Am I considered to be rude to interrupt them when they are just trying to do their job? Should I just sit in silence when they are clearly not on the right path?

Perhaps, but I’m afraid it won’t happen in the near future. Or never. You see, isn’t it so that the annoying sides of one’s personality is only enhanced when one gets older?

Anyway. Be cautious of the advertising speeches of the reps. Read scientific studies about the ingredients and then make up your own mind if you will recommend certain products. Try them yourself and pay attention to how your mouth responds.

My advice for the patients is to use a toothpaste that feels good in their mouth. If the toothpaste burns, stings, makes your mouth numb or if you experience any other uncomfortable feeling STOP USING IT.


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