Happy patients with healthy teeth - assorted articles

Systematic Prophylaxis has significant Effect on Dental Health

The study of Axelsson, Nystroem and Lindhe (2004) found that tooth loss can be substantially prevented with regular prophylaxis sessions. This article provides a concise summary of their findings and provides details on how it works.

With bacterial plaque being identified the crucial etiological factor in caries and periodontal disease, tooth loss, caries and attachment loss was observed during a 30-year time period in a group of 550 adults of whom 375 individuals participated in a prophylaxis program. Participants in the prophylaxis program showed overwhelmingly reduced teeth loss[1] and caries incidents.

The participants were motivated and educated in oral hygiene both in a standardized way and on an individual need basis. The focus was put on appropriate plaque control measures i.e. the application of toothbrushes and interdental cleaning devices (brush, dental tape, toothpick). Dental hygienist conducted the prophylactic sessions together with plaque disclosure and professional mechanical tooth cleaning also applying a fluoride-containing dentifrice/paste. Participants of the study acknowledged and enjoyed the advantages of practicing a high standard of oral hygiene due to the prophylactic program. But why is it that health preservation and its benefits for both patients and dental practices are not fully used yet?

Referring to above mentioned research, Scholz (2015) has listed in total six reasons leading to a huge unused potential to improve the success of the dental practice and to preserve the patients’ dental health - in worst case scenarios leading undelivered promises, e.g. for a maintenance therapy following a periodontal therapy.   

- The employees are not trained well enough.

- Prophylaxis is not receiving sufficient attention

- Medical billing is restricted

- Risk findings with respect to bacterial load and inflammatory signs are not taken into account.

- There is no systematic documentation of all risk findings and their change over time.

- There is no recall system with consistent agreement on appointments and automated reminders.

According to Scholz (2015) one main factor contributing to the reasons above is the lack of a software tool that 1) sufficiently covers functions a comprehensive and longitudinal documentation of medical findings and provides standardized recommendations based on different risk factors and 2) can be easily integrated into the patient flow. One solution respond to the barriers of successful prophylaxis and health preservation constitutes the OHManager. This tablet application is based on a system developed by the Scientific Boards of the former IHCF Foundation for the Promotion of Health, a prominent group of practicing dentists and university professors in the field of dentistry. The OHManager is easy to understand and to handle, allowing more flexibility than usually old fashioned software for stationed computers. Furthermore, applying the handy tablet to conduct prophylaxis can save time for recording medical findings (10min). An individual health preservation plan including individual domestic oral health measures is taken home by patients who can now enjoy the benefits of frequenting a dental practice that truly cares about them.


Axelsson, Nystroem and Lindhe (2004): The long-term effect of a plaque control program on tooth mortality, caries and periodontal disease in adults Results after 30 years of maintenance, Journal of Clinical Periodontology 2004; 31: 749–757 doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2004.00563.x

Scholz (2015): Oral health management, Erhaltungstherapie mit System und Erfolgskontrolle, Umschau  DZ, oemus-media, Vol. 6.

About the Author

Daniel Gruber worked on technology innovations in the realm of health insurance for the headquarters of german multinational insurance, is co-founder of DentHelper and engaged in various research activities in collaboration with different universities.


[1] “Few teeth were lost during the 30 years of maintenance; 0.4–1.8 in different age cohorts. The main reason for tooth loss was root fracture; only 21 teeth were lost because of progressive periodontitis or caries. The mean number of new caries lesions was 1.2, 1.7 and 2.1 in the three groups. About 80% of the lesions were classified as recurrent caries. Most sites, buccal sites being the exception, exhibited no sign of attachment loss.”