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A Tale of Two Hygienists Podcast

Jun 10, 2019

For this bonus episode—powered by Crest+Oral B—we're happy to invite back on our show Josefine Ortiz Wolfe, who’s continuing our latest series on public health initiatives in the dental profession.

Josefine Ortiz Wolfe, Ph.D., RDH, is the director of oral health at the Texas Health Institute. She also writes and educates online and in person as The Informed Hygienist. Recently, she and her team at THI completed a long-term study examining the treatment of non-traumatic dental conditions throughout the state of Texas over a ten-year period.

In this special episode, Josefine discusses in detail the study she conducted with her colleagues, emphasizes the importance of systemic change throughout our field, and explains why you should always go to a dentist’s office before a hospital for any dental issue.


Interview starts: 1:51

- Josefine dives into the longitudinal study she conducted at the Texas Health Institute.

- What is a non-traumatic dental condition?

- Why it can be very dangerous for a patient to admit themselves to the wrong kind of medical facility for their condition.

- How Josefine and her team were able to collate the information for their study.

- The system issue Josefine discovered after they finished reviewing the data.

- The shocking rise in cost of admission over the course of a decade.

- How many people have actually died due to dental issues in this ten year period?

- The importance of “system change” as opposed to simply improving treatment of individual patients.

- Why hospitals aren’t really set up to treat dental issues.

- Is the dental profession beginning to respond to the conclusions of Josefine’s study?

- What Josefine hopes her report will achieve in the long term, and what she and her team have planned in the future.

- Why she sees this report as an opportunity to tell a story about Texas, and why students listening should consider going into public health.


“We’re actually talking about those patients that actually showed up and their dental condition was so severe that the medical professional felt it necessary to immediately admit them into the hospital.”

“13% of Texans over the age of 65 have no teeth at all, so we know that directly affects their ability to manage other chronic diseases.”

“The problem is not just localized to one particular population. This is truly a systemic issue.”

“The majority of the conditions that folks were going into an in-patient setting for could have been treated at a dental office for a lot less than $37,000.”

“We really need to be getting these stories out into the hands of the public.”

“Behind all of these numbers, there are stories.”

“We have the opportunity here to explain how a healthy mouth will impact and improve every aspect of our lives and save lives.”

“I always say statistics are stories with the tears wiped away. Let’s bring those tears back.”



Josefine’s email:

Texas Health Institute -

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Thank you to Crest+Oral B for providing sponsorship for this episodes CE credits!

THIS EPISODE COUNTS FOR CE! - but read the disclaimer below as it might not count for your state.

Go here to take the test and get your CE Credit! 

Approved Pace Program Provider FAGD/MAGD Credit Approval Does Not Imply Acceptance By A State Or Provincial Board of Dentistry Or AGD Endorsement. 1/1/18- 12/31/19 Provider #373236

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