CHICAGO--Thanks to the Academy of General Dentistry, KnowYourTeeth.com is now "the Internet's single, go-to resource and authority for all things dental," according to AGD President Paula Jones, DDS, FAGD.
In January 2009, the AGD launched the new Web portal in an attempt to meet a growing need for accurate, accessible information in user-friendly formats.
"The rise in disturbing dental trends, such as energy drinks and other beverages that have led to increased tooth decay and the erosion of tooth enamel, coupled with the growing desire to have a perfect and whiter smile, has consumers asking questions like never before," Jones said.
She explained that the association chose mothers and families as their initial target for the portal, with college graduates and individuals moving to a new city not far behind.
According to a recent study commissioned by the AGD and conducted by C Research, Inc., Chicago, 90 percent of Moms decide who becomes their child's dentist. But 50 percent have not found a reliable online source they trust for dental information.
The study, which queried 450 mothers of kids ages 3 to 12, also revealed that more than 30 percent of Moms said they would turn to a reputable source of high-quality dental information if one existed.
The most pressing questions Moms have include:
* When should I first bring my child to the dentist?
* How do I prepare my child for his/her first visit to the dentist?
* How do I get my kids to brush and floss regularly?
* What are sealants, and do my children need them?
* Are sports drinks bad for my kids' teeth?
* My children won't drink milk --how else can I get them the calcium they need?
The AGD engaged an extensive network of member volunteers and experts to build KnowYourTeeth.com.
Jones explained why by saying, "The AGD has a proud heritage as the leading educator of general dentists for more than 50 years. We created KnowYourTeeth.com to extend this commitment to the general public, especially Moms and other caregivers who are looking for easy-to-use resources on the Internet every day."
One of the most sophisticated offerings on KnowYourTeeth.com is a personalized "Dental Diary" widget. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, "A widget is anything that can be embedded within a page of HTML, i.e. a Web page, that adds some [additional] content to the page so that it is [less] static."
The Dental Diary can be uploaded onto computer desktops or personal Web pages of portal visitors, and be used as a personalized interface to KnowYourTeeth.com.
The Dental Diary provides up-to-date information and calendar reminders to help users maintain optimal oral health, including:
* Reminders for each member of the family to replace toothbrushes every x months;
* Reminders to schedule family members' dental visits, such as cleanings and checkups;
* Reminders of upcoming dental appointments by individual;
* Ability to create a "personal reminder" option for busy Moms and other portal visitors;
* Topics related to a variety of dental treatments and tooth restorations (fillings, crowns, dentures, etc.);
* The ability to search any topic on KnowYourTeeth.com;
* Links to other features on KnowYourTeeth.com; and
* RSS feeds of new KnowYourTeeth.com content.
Among other important messages about dental care and oral health, KnowYourTeeth.com also aims to impress upon the public the need to regularly see a primary general dentist, as 46 percent of consumers report that they currently do not have a general dentist.
"In the same way consumers have a primary care physician, we believe that everyone should have an equally qualified professional looking out for their dental care," said Jones.
The portal's content makes it easy for consumers to browse important dental topics and find answers to their questions. Other areas of KnowYourTeeth.com include:
* The ABCs of Oral Health: Housed in the "InfoBites" section of the portal, this is a collection of useful articles on dental care and oral health topics, ranging from braces, cavities and wisdom teeth to tooth loss, dry mouth and gum disease. For example, one article discusses how 25 percent of children have never seen a dentist before kindergarten, yet dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in America.
* "The Life of a Tooth": Unlike anything else on the Web, "The Life of a Tooth" is an animated timeline that features dynamic, floating silhouettes representing six key life stages – from infancy, childhood and adolescence, to young, middle and senior adulthood. Accompanying copy explains how the teeth and mouth change in each of these stages of life.
* Dental Advisor: Can't find the answer to your question? Consumers can post a question on the portal's online forum, and an AGD dentist will provide an answer within 48 hours.
* Find a General Dentist: Recently graduated or moved to a new city? This resource serves as a practical tool to help consumers locate a qualified general dentist in their area.
* Poll of the Week and Factoid of the Week: The home page features a poll on a dental topic and interesting educational facts about the many facets of oral care. For example, did you know that nearly 27 percent of patients experience their first adult tooth loss between the ages of 21 and 30?
* SmileLine: A monthly electronic newsletter updating consumers with useful information about their dental care and oral health.
While Moms and families are the initial audience for KnowYourTeeth.com, the portal is designed for people of all age groups, but will provide information for other targeted groups of consumers in the coming months. One example is recent college graduates, who are transitioning to independent living and beginning to take control of their own dental care and oral health.
For more information about the AGD, visit Academy of General Dentistry.
To read more about the Academy of General Dentistry, go to Academy of General Dentistry.
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