The Patient’s Role
No matter how successful the periodontal treatment has been, the patient is the most important part in maintaining periodontal health. For maximum results, the patient must accept this role as a “co-therapist.”
The first charge to the patient is to eliminate factors that increase susceptibility to periodontal disease. The prime culprit is smoking, which increases the odds of losing teeth by 700%! Patients with diabetes are also more susceptible, although this effect is negligible if the blood sugar remains stable. Healthy diets promote good overall health and therefore a patient’s periodontal health and ability to heal. However, there is no evidence that adding high doses of specific vitamins or supplements to an already healthy diet will have any impact on periodontal disease or healing.
The second responsibility of the patient is to maintain daily plaque control, with brushing and flossing. Brushing is easy for most of us, but flossing is more demanding. Most periodontal disease, however, starts between the teeth, where the brush cannot reach.
Lastly, the patient is responsible for scheduling regular periodontal maintenance. The frequency is determined by the periodontist and dentist, and is critical! Most patients with moderate and advanced cases should have periodontal maintenance appointments alternating with both the periodontist and dentist, every three months for their lifetime. Staying faithful to this schedule is very important (See Periodontal Maintenance).
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