Perhaps, if you have driven by our office lately, you have noticed there is a “mouth detailed?” banner on the front of the office. Now, granted I’m not going to take credit for the whole concept, but I will take credit for an explanation. Quite obviously the banner plays on the “got milk?” ads with which most folks are familiar. The “mouth detailed” analogy, however, stems from a conversation with one of our good patients and local businessman, David S. At a recent visit, we were discussing the idea of the historically mundane dental “cleaning” with which everyone is sooooooo familiar, and decided that things would be more interesting if we change the concept to a teeth “detailing” instead of it being “just a cleaning”. What a novel idea! Thanks, Dave! So, think about it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the idea of getting their car detailed, or motorcycle detailed, or coming home to a clean house where every inch and corner is clean to the finest detail. Artwork, landscaping……. it’s all in the details. So let’s take this idea of detailing to your mouth as things couldn’t be more true there. When you come to the dental office and have your teeth “cleaned”, we call that a “prophylaxis”. Prophylaxis in medicine means “prevention” or “to prevent”. We want the concept of prevention to carry over to all of our patients in all aspects of their detailing visit. It not “just a cleaning” and here’s why: Your regular 6 month (or more frequently if you have gum disease) “detailing” is for the purpose of improving your oral health and “prophylax” oral and systemic disease. In the long run, it’s the least expensive and time consuming thing we can do for our patients! Just as with detailing your car to remove surface grime and the road build -up which occurs from daily use, “detailing” your teeth removes deposits that cannot be removed just by daily flossing and brushing. Leaving those deposits (you may have heard them called “tartar” or “calculus” build-up ) on your teeth not only prevents you from cleaning well, but also compromises your health. Let me explain. Gum disease, what we call periodontal disease, can affect your heart, your blood vessels, your kidneys, your liver or any of the small blood vessels in your body. Studies have shown bacteria from the mouth to be present in the plaque which lines the small vessels of the heart, and on the heart valves of people who have heart disease. Maybe you have heard of people who have to take antibiotics for their dental visits after having heart valve replacement, a heart stent placed, or various other reasons like a knee or hip replacement? The antibiotics are to stop bacteria in your bloodstream from attaching to these structures. There is only one way for these mouth bacteria to get in your bloodstream……through your gums! Naturally, your body does not want to have the bacteria in your bloodstream. Having a healthy mouth ensures that your body does not get invaded! Think about this: if your body is constantly trying to fight gum disease in your mouth, it is working overtime around your teeth while it could fight disease in the rest of your body? Maybe your body defenses could repair your lungs or your liver from everyday damage? Perhaps repair skin cells from sun damage? Maybe even prevent a cancer cell from growing? With a regular “teeth detailing” by your dental hygienist and daily flossing and brushing, periodontal /gum disease is manageable just like diabetes or heart disease. Here is the nutshell to take to your next “detailing”. Regularly detailing your teeth not only makes your mouth feel clean and your teeth feel smooth and polished, but it also makes your body run better! So, the next time you’re at your dentist tell your dental hygienist you want the works! Tucker Family Dentistry is located in Vestavia Hills , Alabama and we like to place an emphasis on educating our patients about how their oral health effects their overall health. Our saying is “A Healthy Smile for a Healthy You”! And we stand by that. If you are looking for dental care for your family, or have dental questions or needs please feel free to call us. You can like us on Facebook or visit us on the web at www.tuckerdentistry.com. We look forward to hearing from you!