May Public Information Officer (PIO) Memo


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May Public Information Officer (PIO) Memo

  1. 1. May Public Information Officer (PIO) Memo Local Media Opportunity to Pitch Now and Serve as a Local Media Resource Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that tooth decay in young children is on the rise. Specifically, an estimated 28 percent of US children between the ages of 2 and 5 had a cavity in at least one baby tooth between 1999 and 2004 (as compared to a 24 percent rate between 1988 and 1994). How does this affect PIOs and the AGD, you might ask? As a PIO, you can respond to issues that affect the dentistry profession and work to send information about good oral health practices. Why not act as a local spokesperson for community publications? If you have a current media list, send your contacts an e-mail or call a few of your key contacts and explain how you can serve as a local resource on this story by providing their readers/audience with tips on how to prevent decay. You can accomplish this by providing them with links to the AGD’s Consumer Information section, or offer to send the fact sheet on tooth decay that is available here. The AGD has talking points available for you to use and can work with you to find the correct contacts at those media outlets. Please e-mail for more information. To read the full article, please click here. AGD Welcomes New Media Relations Specialist AGD staff would like to welcome Joshauna Walker, media relations specialist, to the public relations team. In her new position, Joshauna will create, produce, distribute and monitor media relations material that will support public relations programs which include national and local programs as well as annual meeting programs. She will also provide media relations, public relations and administrative support and assist with organization activities and special projects as directed. Prior to starting at the AGD, Walker worked at TC Public Relations, where she was a Public Relations Specialist. In that position, she was responsible for managing media campaigns and creating public relations materials for special projects and programs. Joshauna will serve as an integral part of the PIO network because she will be the point person to create all constituent media lists. If you do not currently have a media list, please contact to learn how to build one. Visit the Leader Resource Center for PIO Materials If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Leader Resource Center on the AGD’s Web site, you might be missing out on some PIO-related information. Click here to see a list of documents that are available as resource guides to all PIOs. The e-versions of Dentalnotes are posted there as PDFs, along with the pitch letter for each quarter. Coming soon will be information on Vocus – an invaluable tool that the AGD uses to distribute news about the organization and oral health. We’ll have a summary document available that outlines the benefits of using Vocus in your constituent, and will also provide a step-by-step guide to distributing your news in the next few weeks.
  2. 2. If your constituent does not currently have a PIO, the position description is also available in that section of the LRC, so interested members from your constituent can go there for additional information. And, as always, please contact headquarters if your constituent elects a new PIO (or any other officer). Spring 2007 Dentalnotes: E-version As a PIO, you receive a complimentary subscription to Dentalnotes, the AGD’s media newsletter. At the headquarters office, the AGD public relations staff sends Dentalnotes to national print and broadcast outlets and follows up the mailing with phone calls. To support this effort, you are encouraged to send Dentalnotes to the print, radio and television media in your area. Sending Dentalnotes in an envelope with your return address or distributing the e-version provides the media with a local resource for dental information. Media professionals receive hundreds of press releases and letters each day, so it is challenging to get information printed. Using the e-newsletter version, however, can help cut through the clutter. The stories are provided within this document, and the link their location online is also included. This would be a great way to refer journalists to the AGD’s Web site for additional oral health resources and news. When distributing through Vocus, you are encouraged to use the article titles as the subject line of your distribution – these grab the journalist’s attention more! For instance, would you rather read a story about “Breast Cancer,” or a story called “New Saliva Test May Help Dentists Test for Breast Cancer”? That’s what will reel them in and generate interest. Spring 2007 Dentalnotes stories: • Breast Cancer o New Saliva Test May Help Dentists Test for Breast Cancer • Tooth Erosion o Root Beer May Be “Safest” Soft Drink • Minimally Invasive Dentistry o What Patients Should Know About Techniques to Conserve Teeth • Tooth Decay o Highly Preventable Oral Disease Affects Millions • Cosmetic Dentistry o Brides-to-be and Job Applicants: Here’s Your Quick-fix • Q&A: Sealants The PIO pitch letter is also included within this memo.
  3. 3. DATE [PREFIX. FIRST NAME LAST NAME] [TITLE] [PUBLICATION] [ADDRESS] [CITY STATE ZIP] Dear [SUFFIX LAST NAME], At each semiannual visit, dentists check for signs of periodontal disease, decay, gingivitis and other problems. What if, the next time a woman went to the dentist, the dentist conducted a salivary test for breast cancer? New research has show that the protein levels in saliva have great potential to assist in the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care of breast cancer, according to a study in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal. The study reviewed this new type of diagnosis, particularly its benefits and drawbacks. Although not yet approved by the FDA, if it does receive approval, dentists and physicians could use it to collaboratively diagnose breast cancer. Since consumers see their dentist more than their doctor, the diagnostic tool could be very effective in the hands of a general dentist. The study also outlined the advantages of salivary testing for patients: • Salivary testing is safe (no needle punctures) and can be collected without causing the patient any pain. • Salivary testing does not require any special training or equipment. • Patients who may not have access to or money for preventive care could easily be tested through saliva. With your help, we hope to educate consumers about this new method of diagnosis. Enclosed, please find the Spring 2007 issue of Dentalnotes, which contains more research-based facts and articles on this topic and other health issues. As a Public Information Officer for the [CONSTITUENT] Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), I can help you add a local angle to this story. Please contact me at [] or [E-MAIL] if you have any questions or wish to arrange an interview with a local AGD spokesperson. Best wishes, [YOUR NAME] Public Information Officer [CONSTITUENT] Academy of General Dentistry
  4. 4. Breast Cancer New saliva test may help dentists test for breast cancer Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the United States. In 2006, the American Cancer Society estimated that there would be 212,920 new cases of invasive breast cancer, and in that year, 40,970 women would die from it. Many women’s lives could be saved if this cancer was diagnosed earlier, and early diagnosis could be achieved if there were more and easier opportunities to do so. Sebastian Z. Paige and Charles F. Streckfus, DDS, MA, the authors of the study, “Salivary analysis in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer,” published in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, researched a new method of diagnosis. They found that the protein levels in saliva have great potential to assist in the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care of breast cancer. And general dentists are perfect candidates to assist with this diagnosis samples because they can easily remove saliva samples from a patient’s mouth during routine visits. As the AGD’s Vice-President Paula Jones, DDS, FAGD says, “Since a patient visits the dentist more frequently than their physician, it makes sense that this diagnostic tool could be very effective in the hands of the general dentist.” Salivary testing has some advantages over blood testing. The authors of the study argue that saliva is a clear, colorless liquid, while blood undergoes changes in color, which might affect test results. The authors also say that saliva collection is safe (no needle punctures), non-invasive, and can be collected without causing a patient any pain. This method of early diagnosis is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If it does receive approval, dentists and physicians could use it to collaboratively diagnose breast cancer. But Dr. Jones also warns that this is not the only means for diagnosis. “It would not eliminate the need for regular mammogram screening or blood analysis; it would just be a first line of defense for women,” she says. “For example, if the salivary screening did show a positive result, a mammogram or other imaging test would be necessary to determine in which breast the cancer was located.” Advantages of salivary testing: • Salivary testing is safe (no needle punctures) and can be collected without causing the patient any pain. • Salivary testing does not require any special training or equipment. • Patients who may not have access to or money for preventive care could easily be tested through saliva. This article is available online at
  5. 5. Tooth Erosion Root beer may be “safest” soft drink Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion—and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth, according to a study in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal. That might be something to consider during the next visit to the grocery store. Consumers often consider soft drinks to be harmless, believing that the only concern is sugar content. Most choose to consume “diet” drinks to alleviate this concern. However, diet drinks contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid and still cause dental erosion— though considerably less than their sugared counterparts. “Drinking any type of soft drink poses risk to the health of your teeth,” says AGD spokesperson Kenton Ross, DMD, FAGD. Dr. Ross recommends that patients consume fewer soft drinks by limiting their intake to meals. He also advises patients to drink with a straw, which will reduce soda’s contact with teeth. “My patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume contain nine to 12 teaspoons of sugar and have an acidity that approaches the level of battery acid,” Dr. Ross explains. For example, one type of cola ranked 2.39 on the acid scale, compared to battery acid which is 1.0. Researchers concluded that non-colas cause a greater amount of erosion than colas. Citric acid is the predominant acid in non-cola drinks and is a major factor in why non-cola drinks are especially erosive. There is a significant difference between sugared and diet colas. “The bottom line,” Dr. Ross stresses, “is that the acidity in all soft drinks is enough to damage your teeth and should be avoided.” What is dental erosion? • Dental erosion involves loss of tooth structure. • Erosion refers to the action of the acid on the entire surface of the tooth. • Dental erosion and dental cavities are not exactly the same. Cavities and tooth decay tend to be isolated to cavity-prone areas such as in between teeth and in pits and grooves. This article is available online at
  6. 6. Minimally Invasive Dentistry What patients should know about techniques to conserve teeth Minimally invasive dentistry may not be a term with which dental patients are familiar, but many dentists use such techniques every day in their practices. Procedures such as remineralization, sealing, inlays and onlays help to conserve healthy tooth structure, which is better for the long-term health of teeth, according to the February 2007 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). They allow dentists to perform the least amount of dentistry needed while not removing more of the tooth structure than is required. One technique used in minimally invasive dentistry is remineralization, which is the process of restoring minerals. It can repair the damage created by the demineralization process, which creates cavities. Another technique used is sealing. Sealants are usually made of plastic resin and protect teeth from bacteria that cause decay. They fit into the depressions of the tooth and act as a barrier to protect against plaque. Dentists who are minimally invasive techniques also use inlays and onlays instead of crowns to restore teeth because they do not have to remove as much of the tooth structure as is required with a crown. When presenting patients with a treatment plan, Lawrence Bailey, DDS, FAGD, AGD spokesperson, focuses on the fact that patients’ costs have been managed and that time in the dental chair will be reduced. “When I explain that I won’t have to cut their tooth down to a peg in order for them to walk out of the clinic with a beautiful smile,” Dr. Bailey says, “they recognize that as an additional benefit.” Dr. Bailey has also found that the prevention aspect of minimally invasive techniques is good for patients who have undergone such procedures because they adopt healthier lifestyles and pass prevention techniques on to others. Overall, Dr. Bailey feels that “minimally invasive procedures help patients feel good about receiving dental treatment and create a new attitude about dental and oral health care.” Facts about minimally invasive dentistry: • Its goal is to conserve healthy tooth structure and allows dentists to perform the least amount of dentistry needed. • The focus is on prevention, remineralization, and minimal dentist intervention. • Most dentists use minimally invasive techniques in their everyday practices. This article is available online at
  7. 7. Tooth Decay Highly preventable oral disease affects millions The statistics are staggering: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over four million children are affected by tooth decay nationwide, a jump of over 600,000 additional preschoolers over the course of a decade. Senior citizens, those with diets high in carbohydrates and people who live in areas without a fluoridated water supply are also likely candidates for cavities. Tooth decay is also known as caries or cavities. The natural bacteria that live in the mouth form plaque, which interacts with deposits left on teeth from sugary or starchy foods and produce acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving it, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay. “Surprisingly, it can take as little as 20-30 seconds for bacteria to take hold and erode the enamel,” says Howard S. Glazer, DDS, FAGD, AGD spokesperson. If a consumer suspects he or she has a cavity, it is important to visit a general dentist right away. “If cavities are left untreated,” Dr. Glazer warns, “it can result in pain, the tooth can decay down to the pulp, which will result in a root canal, and/or the tooth might even need to be extracted.” How to prevent and treat tooth decay: • Take children to see a general dentist by 12 months of age. • Cut down on sugary and starchy foods, as they put teeth at risk. • See your general dentist every six months for check-ups and professional cleanings. • Brush and floss daily. Cavities often begin in the hard-to-clean areas. • Use rinses and toothpastes that contain fluoride. This article is available online at
  8. 8. Cosmetic Dentistry Brides-to-be and job applicants: Here’s your quick-fix Reality TV has provided the general public with a glimpse into the world of cosmetic dentistry with shows like “Extreme Makeover”—and people like the “quick-fix” they see. One of these quick fixes is a resin appliance (known as a clip-on smile or snap-on teeth), designed to fit over the teeth to create an esthetically appealing smile. According to the January 2007 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the AGD, many patients are choosing tooth whitening and other cosmetic treatments over treatment for periodontal disease and decay. “People want a quick, inexpensive, non- invasive way to have what they perceive as a Hollywood smile,” explains AGD spokesperson, Charles H. Perle, DMD, FAGD. Snap-on teeth are being used by many patients to obtain a beautiful smile. There are benefits of using snap-on teeth: A dentist can determine whether or not a patient can tolerate a permanent cosmetic dental treatment, such as the placement of veneers, as well as provide patients with the opportunity to see how their teeth will look before choosing a more permanent solution. Patients with special needs (i.e. those who fear the dentist or who are medically compromised and should not undergo long, stressful procedures) may also benefit from the use of snap-on teeth. Snap-on teeth, however, are not appropriate for all patients. Those with protrusive teeth, removable teeth, or who are not interested in improving their dental health are not good candidates for the appliance. Patients need to be aware that snap-on teeth are temporary and may need to be replaced often. Also, that the final look of the product is limited to the patient’s natural bite, occlusion, and smile-line. “The fix is temporary; patients are going to need a permanent solution. The snap-on product, if used in the proper patient case, can be a safe, inexpensive, and effective temporary procedure,” says Dr. Perle. “However, the patient can’t have unrealistic expectations; they need to know their smile will not look like Julia Roberts’,” stresses Dr. Perle. Items to note before you quick-fix: • Quick-fix dentistry is just that, a “quick fix.” Treatment done is temporary and is meant to be a stepping stone to a more permanent solution. • When approaching your dentist about snap-on teeth, be sure to discuss dental needs you should consider before opting for a cosmetic solution, such as decay and periodontal problems. • The overall look of snap-on teeth is dictated by a patient’s bite, occlusion, and smile-line (the front part of the teeth that is only visible when someone smiles). • Cosmetic dentistry is about creating an esthetically appealing look. You may, however, be able to get a better cosmetic look with crowns or veneers rather than using the temporary snap-on teeth.
  9. 9. This article is available online at Sealants Q: What is a sealant? A: A dental sealant is a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars (the teeth directly in front of the molars). Sealants have been shown to be highly effective in the prevention of cavities. Q: How effective are sealants? A: Scientific studies have proven that properly applied sealants are 100 percent effective in protecting the tooth surfaces from cavities. Because sealants act as a physical barrier to decay, protection is determined by the sealants’ ability to adhere to the tooth. As long as the sealant remains intact, small food particles and bacteria that cause cavities cannot penetrate through or around a sealant. In fact, research has shown that sealants actually stop cavities when placed on top of a slightly decayed tooth by sealing off the supply of nutrients to the bacteria that causes a cavity. Q: How long will a sealant last? A: Sealants should last five years, but can last as long as 10 years. One study reported that seven years after application, an impressive 49 percent of treated teeth were still completely covered. Sealants should not be considered permanent. Regular dental check-ups are necessary to monitor the sealants’ bond to the tooth. Q: Who should receive sealant treatment? A: Children, because they have newly erupted, permanent teeth, receive the greatest benefit from sealants. The chewing surfaces of a child’s teeth are most susceptible to cavities and the least benefited by fluoride. Surveys show that approximately two-thirds of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child’s newly erupted teeth because food particles and bacteria cannot be cleaned out. Other patients also can benefit from sealant placement, such as those who have existing pits and grooves susceptible to decay. Research has shown that almost everybody has a 95 percent chance of eventually experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of their teeth. This article is available online at
  10. 10. Find an AGD Dentist • In March, the AGD’s toll-free public service, 1.877.2X.AYEAR, fielded 92 calls. With 38 callers seeking a dentist, 92 AGD members received referrals. • In April, the AGD’s toll-free public service, 1.877.2X.AYEAR, fielded 91 calls. With 53 callers seeking a dentist, 147 AGD members received referrals. SmileLine Online: In March and April combined, consumers posted over 70 oral health care questions on the SmileLine Online Forum. Volunteer members worked continuously to make sure responses were posted in a timely manner and included links to more information on the AGD Web site and the toll free number to find an AGD dentist. Some Reminders: • All constituents are encouraged to contact the headquarters’ office to sign up for Vocus free of charge. Please e-mail for more information. • If you were unable to pick up a copy of the PIO Workbook at the Leadership Conference, please request one by e-mailing PIOs in Action: Hosting a SmileLine Is your constituent looking for an easy way to reach out to the community while also increasing awareness of the AGD? Hosting a constituent SmileLine will accomplish just that – and might even result in additional referrals to your members’ practices. Ontario will host a SmileLine event at its annual meeting, which is the perfect venue to host this event. Just as the AGD holds its national SmileLine event at the annual meeting because there are a number of members available to take calls, holding a SmileLine in your constituent would provide an invaluable resource to your community. If you are unaware of what this event entails, constituents can use the AGD’s 1.800.SMILE.33 number to set up a local oral health hotline. Consumers call in for free during the timeframe you specify to ask questions about oral health. Since consumers receive answers from AGD dentists, that may result in seeking an AGD dentist on the Web site and more referrals! If you are interested, e-mail to obtain the agreement and discuss potential dates for the event, and then headquarters will work with you to coordinate the rest. PIO Efforts: The Public Relations department is featured in a monthly section of AGD in Action, in AGD Impact. This will help spread the word on what our PIOs are doing on a local level to get the AGD’s message out. If you have had a successful program or campaign, please e-mail so we can pass this information on through AGD publications.