My touch of OCD decided to make a guest appearance as I pulled up to my office, closed my door, and locked it. I skipped my typical list of things that I usually ask myself each time I enter my practice, and then I found myself asking my inner dentist a question….. Did I remember to bring my smartphone? Of course, I did! I am OCD and super organized.
A few moments later while working with a patient of several decades, I realized that even after forty years of practicing dentistry, I forgot, or neglected to do something. I never really taught him about prevention. In fact, as OCD as I am about teeth and most everything in general, I never really taught him the details about prevention at all. Sure we have a practice that is conservative and has an emphasis on prevention. But after only a few questions I realized that he did not know much about the objective of most of the preventative procedures we had discussed over the years. After polling a few more patients it became apparent that many people don’t understand what the objectives are with preventative maintenance. Not just my own patients but most everyone. So let’s get right into the meat, or if you’re a vegetarian, the zucchini of the matter.
Generally speaking, the goal of most preventative maintenance is to remove the bacteria off of your teeth. Personally, I think most advertisements confuse the average consumer about what you are supposed to be accomplishing with preventative maintenance. You don’t want to kill the bacteria in your mouth with mouthwashes that contain huge amounts of alcohol or bacteria-killing ingredients. You just don’t want the bacteria to stay on your teeth, in between your teeth, or anywhere on your teeth where they can cause plack. If you kill the bacteria in your mouth you affect digestion, your immune system, and according to studies, you cut down on oxygen formation in your bloodstream. You don’t need to be a science wizard to know that is not good for your health at all.