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Social Media in Dentistry and Dental Hygiene

For the past 18 months I’ve had the role of social media coordinator for CDHA. My role, scheduling entries/posts and monitoring/replying to facebook, twitter and blog postings.  December 31st will be my last day in this role, after which time Angie D’Aoust, new Director of Marketing & Communications for CDHA will be taking over. Those who follow regularly will have noticed her entries.

cdha fbTo close my term I thought I’ld share a few social media pointers related to the dental profession. I present regularly on Social Media for Dentistry, covering everything from web page optimization, online marketing, metrics, using facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+, blogs, social sites, community pages and the like. The social media opportunities are endless and new opportunities are added almost daily.

  • develop a social media policy – who’s posting, when, about what, what are the rules of engagement
  • develop and maintain a brand/image
  • know your audience and speak their language
  • keep communication short and concise
  • write for the reader not the web
  • use images to attract attention to your posts
  • have a  schedule/calendar to plan your posts/topics
  • remember the Pareto Principle
  • a small number of loyal followers in your area is a lot more valuable than a large number of disinterested followers
  • get personal, but don’t invade the privacy of others
  • give (information, pointers, juicy bits of trivia)
  • don’t hard sell products, treatments or ideas – there are always alternatives
  • acknowledge (information sources, shares, advice from others, feedback)
  • don’t make it all dental
  • involve community
  • utilize metatags, keywords, hashtags, image descriptors, etc to optimize your web presence
  • analyze lists, analytics and metrics; get the most out of your data
  • use platforms to pre schedule, monitor, control and coordinate your various media
  • DON’T tweet and post the same things on all platforms, the audiences are different and so is the expectation
  • advertise your social sites – talk about them in-office, link on your web page, add links to your email signature
  • posting too frequently and two close together is one of the key reasons people unfollow/unsubscribe – you clutter their feed so that they can’t see what their friends have to say – schedule
  • use alerts to follow ideas and concepts you want to discuss and to see what others are saying about you and your office
  • don’t respond in defense of negative reviews, it just brings them back to the top of the review list. Instead crowd them out with positive reviews. No one expects all reviews to be positive, statistically negative people are much more likely to post. Negative reviews make you ‘real’.
  • utilize ‘share’ buttons where possible to encourage others to share your content

cdha twitterSocial media is also a great tool to help you develop professionally. There are a number of online forums related to dentistry and dental hygiene sharing research, articles, product reviews and discussions between professionals. CDHA has a number of discussion forums, both open and closed for CDHA members, educators and independent practitioners. LinkedIn has a number, including the World Dental Hygiene Forum, and there are lots of others Amy’s RDHList , HygieneTown,  and  Dimensions of Dental Hygiene to name a few. These are sites that will keep you abreast of developments in your field, introduce you to new ideas and concepts and allow you to discuss and question things you read or have heard with other professionals. The field of dental hygiene can often be very isolating and this allows more open communication with like minded professionals. Online Chat through a variety of platforms also facilitates communication among professionals.

For those looking for employment, or a job shift, social media is also a means of networking with others you might not otherwise come into contact with. There are frequently discussions about upcoming opportunities in private practice, and industry on the various forums. Many of these sites also have an area for job postings as well and are worth checking out. LinkedIn is valuable in this regard and your profile acts as your resume.

Continuing Education has made a huge move to social media/electronic media in the past decade with many of us using ‘the web’ to access webinars for live or archived programs over a broad cross section of topics. There are also downloadable self-study programs. These formats save on travel costs, absence from work, child care expenses, accommodation costs etc making education more accessible to all.

The web has made communication and education easier, more affordable and accessible across the globe. There is no reason to feel isolate – someone out there is always willing to offer their perspective and help answer your questions. Get on-line and network! CDHA community are a great place to start.

It’s been a pleasure working on your behalf, communicating with colleagues over the past 18 months. For those who wish to follow me personally now that I’ll no longer be the voice of CDHA, you may do so at

Melinda Ferguson-Robertson

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New Canadian Oral Health Data

The Office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO) released the Oral Health Component of the Canadian Health Measures Survey, which demonstrates that overall, Canadians have a very good oral health status. Three out of every four Canadians annually visit a dental professional. However, this survey report does not include First Nations and Inuit health data, which will be released at a later date.
The following statistics indicate increased federal support for oral health is needed:

  • 17% of Canadians reported that they did not make an appointment to see a dental professional due to the cost;
  • 16% stated that they avoided getting all their recommended treatment done due to the cost.
  • 57% of 6–11 year olds have or have had a cavity
  • 59% of 12–19 year olds have or have had a cavity
  • The average number of teeth affected by decay in children aged 6–11 and 12–19 year olds is 2.5
  • 96% of adults have had a history of cavities
  • 21% of adults with natural teeth have, or have had, a moderate or a severe periodontal problem

If you have any questions or if you would like a copy of the report (specify technical or summary or both), please e-mail OCDO at

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