Oral-B and iADH to put patients with disabilities at heart of their partnership

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Oral-B and iADH to put patients with disabilities at heart of their partnership

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Benjamin Binot (left), senior vice president of oral care for Europe at Procter & Gamble, and Dr Alison Dougall, iADH president. (Image: Djibrann Hass)

Seeking to make oral care more inclusive, accessible and positive for people living with disabilities, Oral-B has recently announced a partnership with the International Association for Disability and Oral Health (iADH). In this interview, Dental Tribune International had the opportunity to speak with Benjamin Binot, senior vice president of oral care for Europe at Procter & Gamble, and Dr Alison Dougall, iADH president, about some of the hurdles that people living with disabilities face in managing their oral health and accessing dental care. They discussed how the partnership can help make a positive difference to the oral care experience of these patients.

Mr Binot, why has Oral-B partnered with iADH?
Binot: A large proportion of the population are affected by some kind of disability, and they experience periodontal issues owing to struggles with maintaining their oral health. At Oral-B, we recognise that it is our responsibility to help ensure that oral care is accessible for all, and iADH shares the same values.

What are you hoping to learn from the iADH Congress 2022?
Binot: We want to learn about the great work that is being done by industry leaders to inform our thinking, accelerate progress in the area and provide the best care for people with disabilities. We will use these insights to co-create the Positive Practices programme, which is designed to train and educate dental practices on how to become more confident and inclusive when it comes to their patients.

How are you planning to work with oral health professionals as part of your work with iADH?
Binot: We plan to leverage the connections, network, expertise and experience of iADH in order to accelerate our learning. It is our responsibility to drive change and make both business and products more accessible for everyone. We will continue to work closely with dental professionals and consumers in order to understand better where and how we can help to improve oral health outcomes for everyone.

Dr Dougall, what struggles do people with disabilities face when managing their oral health?
Dougall: One of the greatest struggles is physical inability to provide themselves with the right level of oral care. This is often because they have not been shown the different techniques that might help their particular disability. However, the main issue is that the expectation is not there. People with disabilities have a sense of inevitability that their oral care is not going to be as good as that of others, and some dentists think this too. Yet we need it to be better.

What barriers or challenges do dentists face when facilitating care to those with disabilities?
Dougall: The main barrier is the lack of education. Sadly, it is still possible to qualify as a dentist without having even met somebody with a disability or let alone having been shown how to provide care for this audience. This is unacceptable because dental professionals are there to serve their whole community.

Dentists need to be trained that there are various ways to maintain and provide the right level of oral care, and they need to be introduced to people with disabilities in order to become comfortable with treating them. They might think that getting dental implants or undergoing complex endodontic procedures is not even in the ballpark for somebody with a disability. However, dentistry has come a long way and, in many cases, these limitations no longer apply.

How can brands like Oral-B help to support those with visible and invisible disabilities, and what do you hope to see come out of the partnership?
Dougall: I think that Oral-B can help by making sure that people do not forget about disability and that they include it at every level. It can help by raising awareness that it is the responsibility of the dentist to provide oral care for people with disabilities.

Oral-B has a unique relationship with the dental and the hygiene profession and can help educate dental professionals and share the messages that we need to put across. I believe that we can build a sustainable, mutually beneficial partnership which will put the patient at its the heart.

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