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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2017

Until now, we have educated dentists to become “tooth- repairers”. Dentists learn to place implants in the most difficult positions possible, they learn how to perform endodontics in the most severely curved canals, but when do they learn how to educate their patients on oral health? When will we understand that a healthy mouth is about more than just clean teeth? And when will we understand that our mission should be to keep patients healthy for a lifetime by providing them with the right products and education? Of course, as a dental industry, we still need to sell tooth- brushes, interdental brushes and mouthwashes. Many other companies in the dental industry need to sell implants, en- dodontic files and drills. Essentially, all manufacturers, deal- ers and dental professionals still need to look at remaining profitable or increasing profits. And there is no doubt that as an industry, we will still need to repair. Fortunately, our restorations have improved and can now last forever, but our preventive care can defi- nitely be improved. Mind the trends The demand for preven- tive care has rather recent roots. Firstly, the megatrend of having a healthy lifestyle has now also moved into oral care. People want better oral prophylaxis, beautiful teeth and fresh breath. Oral care, however, is about so much more than oral hygiene. Healthy teeth and gums go hand-in-hand with self-confidence, a good morale and can also lead to healthy bodies. Essentially, the desire for a healthier lifestyle has cre- ated a demand for new products and new approaches to provide the patient with oral healthcare services in dental practices. Secondly, scientists have discovered that oral health con- ditions have a major impact on people’s general and mental wellbeing. Oral health starts from infancy, by preventing jaw deformation and mouth breathing, continues into youth by motivating teens to maintain good oral health, and should not end when a patient becomes an adult. Everyone, regardless of his or her age, should feel attractive and beautiful. This means that we also need to help patients with dentures, implants and dental appliances to maintain their oral health. Finally, it has also been discovered that the microbiota in the mouth has several very important functions that help main- tain overall health. As the dental industry, we need to make sure that patients understand that they need bacteria in their mouths for their immune system. One simply has to destroy the bad bacteria, especially in hard-to-reach areas, such as interdental spaces, while keeping the good ones. While we have done a good job towards improved biofilm management, we need to opinion | a vision for prevention present more scientific evidence that shows that the natural oral biofilm needs to be kept in a healthy balance. This includes everyone, from babies and children to teenagers, adults and seniors. Everybody needs a healthy mouth for a healthy body in order to reduce the offset of chronic diseases. Better health for all If health insurance companies, governments and health or- ganisations really want to establish a prevention-driven mind set in society, dentists are key. Dentists have the education, the capacity and the position in society to make prevention a priority—at least in Western cultures. The dental professional has the potential to become the preventive doctor of the future. Of course, this possibility is still very far from our current reality. When will we understand that our mission should be to keep patients healthy for a lifetime by providing them with the right products and education? However, most oral diseases are preventable, simply through the daily care of teeth and gums. That’s why we want to change dentistry from a field of repairing, to one of health-orientated medicine. In this way, the dentist is responsible for the general health of people and not only for their teeth and gums. Curaden wants the dentist to finally become the gate- keeper of health by taking care of patients’ oral health. Together, we want to achieve better health for all, therefore a change in approach towards prevention is inevitable. A partner in preventive oral health As a company with decades of experience, we have contrib- uted significantly to preventive dentistry. First, our CURAPROX brand supports health instead of fighting dental problems, such as caries or hypersensitivity. It is not against diseases, but rather for oral health. Our products have the quality and design to inspire both the dental professional and the patient about oral healthcare. Plus, no matter what our competitors are saying, we have the best interdental brushes on the market! Secondly, no business or industry succeeds without that personal touch. Prophylaxis, whether in the dental practice or at home, needs to be more emotive. In order to encour- age people to take care of their oral health, they must be emotionally invested in the cause as well. Finally, change will only occur with proper education. As a company, we invest in knowledge-sharing and skills improvement by offering various programmes and webinars to educate dental professionals. These professionals then in turn can educate their patients. All of this leads up to one important concept: the dentist will become one of the most important medical professionals in the future and we hope to be part of this evolution. september 2017 9

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