ADA consumer-oriented website, new features to roll out in June
March 19, 2012
By Karen Fox, ADA News staff
“Mouth Healthy for Life.”
It’s single-minded, focused and meets a motivating consumer need, and it’s the theme of the ADA’s new consumer website (www.MouthHealthy.org), set to launch in June.
Citing the public reaction to The New York Times’ March 6 story on caries in preschoolers, Dr. W. Carter Brown, chair of the ADA Council on Communications, said “the public is keenly interested in reliable oral health information from the ADA.”
“The way people seek information has moved more to online sources,” said Dr. Brown. “ADA.org has consumer information, but it was clear that a dedicated site that is user-friendly and creates an emotional link was needed. We hope that by having a welcoming, interactive and helpful site, the public will better relate to the ADA as the trusted source for oral health information.”
As part of the plan, the site will provide the most up-to-date and credible oral health information on prevention, care and treatment, and offer a highly engaging user experience.
“The ADA is America’s leading advocate for oral health, but our messaging to the public has not always been clear, consistent and organized to make it easily accessible,” said Dr. Brown. “We believe that informed patients are more likely to make better health choices and understand the benefits of having an ADA dentist as part of their oral health for a lifetime.”
The current public resource information on ADA.org will serve as the base for MouthHealthy.org but Dr. Brown said “more robust content development” is under way.
“We plan to include tools for the public to check symptoms, understand the needs of oral health in life stages representing everyone from babies to seniors, and information about the oral-systemic link,” he said. “We will have a constant presence online to build an ongoing transfer of knowledge and information in a consumer-friendly way.”
Nutritional information, smoking cessation ideas, children and senior issues, and caregiver information are among the features. In focus group testing, one of the top items consumers requested for the new site was a find-a-dentist feature, so the ADA’s Find-a-Dentist tool will be prominently featured on MouthHealthy.org.
“There will also be a large emphasis on social media channels and interactivity,” said Dr. Brown. “In today’s world, information is not so much pushed out to the public as it is shared in a community atmosphere.”
MouthHealthy.org will be separate from ADA.org, which will re-launch as a professionally-focused resource. Dr. Brown said ADA.org will be revamped so that it can concentrate more on the professional and member needs and issues. “Both sites will link to one another and will share resources when needed,” he said. “Each site will have staff focused on the particular issues for that site so that they can stay fresh and creative in their content and messaging.”
Consumer research related to the consumer website indicated that the concept of “Mouth Healthy for Life” resonated with consumers more than any other concepts that were tested. Consumers validated the importance of oral health being more than just a white smile, and they said the information was perceived to be much more credible when coming from the ADA.
This was good news for Dr. Brown. “Health is the most-searched topic on the web and health-related websites reach millions of people on a daily basis. Eighty percent of Internet users look for health information online. MouthHealthy.org will help elevate the ADA’s presence on the Internet as the leading source of oral health information.”
The Council on Communications submitted advertising guidelines to the Board of Trustees, which adopted them at the March meeting.