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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2017

opinion | saliva testing The importance of saliva testing for prevention Visiting different countries gives us a global perspective of the issues concerning oral health and health care. We continue to establish partnerships and a deeper understanding of prevention worldwide. That is why the mission of the Global Oral Health program at Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health in the US is simple: creating oral health solutions through leadership development, innovation, education and technologies while promoting care to underserved populations. Prevention should matter to everyone; this mission is more important than ever. BY DR TONY HASHEMIAN, ARIZONA SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY AND ORAL HEALTH, US we have done a great job elevating our expertise as medical professionals. De- spite these efforts, the average person holds the perceptions that dentistry is expensive and painful. Historically, the idea of preserving one’s teeth was different. On the one- dollar bill, George Washington is not smiling because he suffered from dental problems from an early age due to poor oral hygiene. Obviously, little was known about means of maintaining dentition at that time because science and technol- ogy were not yet sufficiently advanced. Hundreds of years ago, however, dental status affected the price of a slave: the more teeth, the healthier the slave. In today’s dentistry, prevention has to be- come a major part of the conversation. Prevention increases education and pa- tients’ value of their oral health. It is our job to engage the population. How to help patients brush and floss better These are our goals: we have to figure out how to engage our patients cleverly, how to take the time to educate and train them so they can be healthy and suc- cessful for life. Our most important chal- lenge in achieving these goals remains the improvement of oral health care at home. While we have focused a great deal on treatment, we should spend more time on home care measures such as toothbrushing and interdental clean- ing. Prevention entails substantial health management and we need to find good solutions to engage our patients. This starts with a toothbrush. The modern message from dental profes- sionals has been to use a soft toothbrush. In retail stores, one can still choose between hard, medium and soft tooth- brushes. Even some of my colleagues continue to say that soft toothbrushes do not remove plaque completely. Using a plaque indicator will show the effective results of using a soft toothbrush and massaging one’s gingivae. Of course, brushing alone will not do the job; technique and interdental clean- ing matter too. Regarding interdental cleaners, it is important to choose the right size. Obviously, whatever interden- tal cleaning tool dentists use, it sends Dr Tony Hashemian A ll around the world, we are focusing on the costs of and access to dental care. From my experience over the last 20 years, the value of oral health and oral health literacy have been common problems in many areas. In the US alone, about 100 million people do not visit the dentist. Among the results of this are that the costs of dental care are a great deal higher when the person ends up in hospital. In many areas, despite access to care and proper insurance, people still do not go to the dentist. As dentists, 36 issue #1

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