A decade ago, the US was awash in toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Today, those products are everywhere, with many Americans still not using the tools they once had.
But as America’s dentists struggle to stay relevant in a world increasingly dominated by social media, they are faced with the prospect of losing their jobs and the community they’ve built.
“We’ve gone from having a dentist profession that was very much rooted in community and community based, where you would go out to the community and make friends, to having the internet and the social media taking over the whole thing,” said Dr Brian Pfeifer, a dentist at a community dental clinic in Fresno, California.
One of the biggest threats to dentists is social media. “
I think we’ve seen some of that happening, but I think we have to be very careful.”
One of the biggest threats to dentists is social media.
As dentists have moved online, they’ve become targets of trolls and abuse.
They have seen online harassment and even death threats from people who see them as being too close to people who might have a problem with their profession.
And some dentists worry that people have taken over their community.
“If you have a dentist who is a member of a certain profession, then I think that’s not the kind of person that should be on social media,” Dr Pfeiffer said.
“That person has to be an individual that has their own opinion and is a part of their own community.”
Dentists may also be facing the challenge of keeping up with a changing society.
A Pew Research Center survey released last month found that in the US, the share of adults who said they had been bullied at school dropped from 19% in 2013 to 15% in 2016.
And while that may seem like a big deal, the fact is that a recent study by the Pew Research Centre found that only 11% of adults said they felt unsafe in their own home, compared to 48% of the general population.
A lack of social connections also means dentists are having to find ways to stay on top of the latest news and developments.
One of those ways is to stay in touch with patients and family.
Dr Pefner said dentists need to remain connected with their communities.
“You have to stay connected with the community,” he said.
“I don’t think you have to have a job where you are making money.
You just have to maintain a relationship with your patients, maintain a connection with your community.”
If you or anyone you know needs help, visit the Samaritans’ helpline on 1800 333 000.