How far have we come in the past six millennia? Numerous dental epidemiological studies indicate that people are keeping their teeth longer than over before in this century. Agents and devices have evolved, by custom and by research, to enable people, with professional assistance, to maintain good oral health. Our diets, our lifestyles and our professional colleagues have "conspired" as pathogenic influences on oral health. The profession has met the challenge by developing and perfecting a myriad of devices and agents to thwart these pathogenic factors. Patient motivation and professional acceptance of preventive dentistry procedures still remain challenges. We certainly eat well, speak well, look fine and "smell fresh"--but we also have plaque, gingivitis and dental caries. The reader can determine how much progress has been made by reflecting on his or her personal oral health status!
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