One of the most important roles of dental professionals is our ethical responsibility to maintain the health of a patient’s
dentition for as long as possible. However, there are an overwhelming number of cases of preventable dental ailments,
such as caries and periodontal disease, burdening our population. If approximately 92% of adults aged 20 to 64 have experienced dental
caries and 46% have a form of periodontitis, are we
doing our job?1,2
There is more to oral health prevention than mentioning flossing or handing someone a free toothbrush. It involves consistency and hard work to engage patients and increase their compliance. Consistently spending one-on-one time with patients with a mirror, disclosing solution, and oral health aids is necessary to improve their compliance and oral health.3 This stage of the treatment should be prioritized before “active” therapy begins, meaning that the dental professional should start with oral hygiene education instead of implementing it at the end of an appointment when time may be running short.4
There are several evidence-based interventions, such as toothbrushing and interproximal cleaning, that demonstrate effective plaque removal and thus can help prevent caries and periodontal disease. Although interproximal cleaning may be less of a habit among patients, toothbrushing is a common daily act for most people. Therefore, we need to capitalize on this method of biofilm removal while working to strengthen compliance in interproximal cleaning.
Interproximal cleaning is critical to the prevention of caries and the reduction of gingivitis.
Floss is not the only available tool for patients to clean interproximally, and it may not even be the best option,
depending on a patient’s needs.5 Other devices are also available, such as interproximal brushes and wooden interdentals.
When used properly, these options can have better outcomes than floss.6 Therefore, it is crucial that oral hygiene aids are
tailored to each patient as well as demonstrated and reinforced frequently.
The same process also applies to too Different options exist for toothbrushes, ranging from manual to various electric ones. Within the electric toothbrush category, there are two main types of technologies: oscillating-rotating and sonic. Also impacting a toothbrush’s effectiveness are the size of the handle, length, density, stiffness of the bristles, and size and shape of the head itself. These aspects are important to consider when recommending a brush for a patient. It’s even more important to work with patients with the same brushes they’re using at home while instructing them on proper home care.