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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Toothbrush

Lifestyle Considerations for the Prevention of Caries and Gingivitis

Dentists can provide, promote or direct patients to information about lifestyle behaviors and/or services that can aid in reducing their risk.

Beyond the general and personalized recommendations above, there are three  specific ADA policies regarding aspects that fall under the rubric of lifestyle considerations with roles to help prevent caries and gingivitis:

1) Consumption of Fluoridated Water
Much of the literature evaluated in systematic reviews examining the association between consumption of fluoridated water and reduced levels of caries in primary and permanent dentition derives from studies conducted before the 1980’s.41 One experiment, in which a Canadian community discontinued its community water fluoridation to allow for the comparison of caries rates within a socioeconomically similar, adjacent community which maintained its water fluoridation demonstrated a significant increase in primary tooth decay and an increasing trend for increased decay in permanent dentition 2.5 – 3 years post cessation among residents who reported usually drinking tap water.42 In 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General expressed the view that community water fluoridation was an important component for developing a culture of disease prevention and helping to ensure health equity for all.43

2) Use of Tobacco Products
While the various forms of tobacco have a variety of health consequences, theoral consequences of cigarette smoking44 and smokeless tobacco products45 can include adverse effects on gingival health, enamel discoloration and erosion, and oral cancer. For these reasons, the ADA has long advocated for smoking and tobacco cessation initiatives both at the policy and practice levels.

3) Oral Piercings
The literature on the oral consequences of oral piercingsshow tooth fracture, tooth wear and gingival recession among the commonly reported adverse events,46 and the ADA established policy discouraging oral piercing in 1998.