If there was something that you could say or do that would cause a patient to place a higher value on their oral health, it would be common knowledge by now – don’t you think?

It just doesn’t exist. There are no fancy scripts, no magical words, no special fairy-dust.

Yet, every day there are people who change their diet, begin regular exercise programs, stop smoking, give up alcohol, swear off meat or dairy, start flossing, begin training for a marathon and on and on and on. Was it because someone nagged them? Unlikely. Was it because they suddenly became “educated?” Doubt it! Lasting health habits are internally directed, and like healing, comes from the inside out.

Something inspired them. Something made them angry or disgusted enough to act. They chose a healthy approach because they hit bottom and resolved to make changes.

The point? They wanted it. You can want it for someone else, but ultimately, they have to want it for themselves. So, how do you help patients want treatment and optimal oral health? Are you trying to “fix” patients? Or, are you assuming the role of advocate and detaching yourself from the outcome?