It is not surprising that most people are not proactive in terms of oral hygiene. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that 73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping then floss their teeth-and we all know how frustrating checkout lines can be!
From a traditional viewpoint, this is not surprising. Dental education has long rested on the shoulders of parents and elementary school educators. The occasional family dentistry practice is small enough to award dentists the time to explain to each patient, in detail, why bacteria leads to cavities, gum disease, and other negative conditions. By and large, however, there are simply too many mouths and too little time for professionals to proficiently educate each individual who visits their office.
Simple information about cleaning your teeth, avoiding excessive sweets, and scheduling a regular professional cleaning has, for the most part, been conveyed to us on a simplistic level by nonprofessionals. For example, few know that bacteria, when trapped between the teeth, can contact and infect the gums within only 48 hours. Even fewer are aware that several studies conducted at universities the world over have linked gum disease with heart disease.
When it comes to dental education, parents, educators, and time constrained professionals seem to leave it at brush twice a day, floss at night, and watch the candy intake. If you dig deeper, however, you find such prescriptions are extremely limited.
Holistic dentistry, on the other hand, takes an information rich approach to educate and empower people. Once patients are educated and empowered, they are able to take steps to proactively combat oral decay and gum disease before they become serious health issues.
Putting the patient first means a lot more than just checkups-it means ensuring each patient has a full understanding of why their teeth and gums are in a certain condition. When you take the time to educate people, you empower them. Empowered individuals are proactive individuals, and there is simply no substitute for consistent, proactive oral hygiene.