General Oral Health – Interview with Dr. John R. Vitale

Good oral hygiene means taking care of your teeth and gums. If you floss, use a Waterpik, brush your teeth twice a day and don’t eat too much in between meals, chances are that you will have good oral hygiene.

During a routine dental visit what are the things the dentist is looking at to determine if a patient has good oral health?

Dr. John Vitale: What the dentist looks for –  number one, the dentist looks at the hard tissue, the teeth. We look at the condition of the teeth. Through X-rays, we look to see if there is any decay. In the soft tissue, we look at their gum tissue. We look at the attached tissue, the tissue around their mouth to make sure that we don’t see any swellings, any bleeding, any accumulation of plaque or calculus and obviously any lesions that might prove to be a problem.

What are the most common dental problems that you treat in your practice and can those be prevented by good personal oral health care?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, 65% of people entering a dental practice get cavities taken care of. That’s the overwhelming majority of the work that we do in the dental practice and yes, decay can be prevented obviously with good oral hygiene, diet and also with some good genetics.

We know that some public water supplies are treated with fluoride. What role does fluoride play in oral health? What should people do when fluoride is not added to their water? 

Dr. John Vitale: Well, some water supplies do have fluoride. A lot of water supplies do not. For children, you can supplement their diet with a fluoride tablet which is acceptable and for adults, it’s really not that necessary. I think it’s more important that the patient keeps his or her mouth clean, eats properly and takes good care of their teeth. It’s just like general maintenance with the rest of their body. If you do a good job taking care of your teeth, keeping them nice and clean and healthy and maybe not snacking so much between meals, the overall effect is generally good oral hygiene.

What is your best advice to adults trying to maintain good oral health?

Dr. John Vitale: I think it’s very important that adults brush at least twice a day and for two minutes each time. Two minutes is a long time. When you start doing it for the first time, check your watch and see how long two minutes really takes. It takes a good time. The Waterpik I think is probably one of the best inventions that science has regarding the teeth. It really keeps your gums nice and clean and keeps them firmed up and it does a very, very good job of getting stuff out between your teeth. For those people who don’t have a Waterpik, flossing would be adequate. But I think if you floss, use a Waterpik, brush your teeth twice a day and not eat too much between meals, I think you’ll be fine.

If you are interested in speaking with Dr. John Vitale, visit or call 201-521-9800 to schedule an appointment.

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