Conscious brushing is the responsibility of every individual.
Dentistry is a noble profession, and Dr. Sergio Vergara Romero pushes it even further by bringing dental care closer to those who can’t access it easily. In this short interview, he explains that every improvement in oral health can have a deep impact on the quality of life of a whole family.
What routines do you find most critical for maintaining proper oral health?
First, I would say a brief daily mouth check-up is essential. It’s important to check the lips, teeth, and gums. Pay special attention to any change or anomaly.
Second, mechanical plaque removal is undoubtedly fundamental. It should be done in the morning and again in the evening before bedtime. I recommend using a soft toothbrush adequate in size to the mouth of the person, and fluoridated toothpaste.
Last but not least, drink plenty of water and have a balanced diet, rich in fibre, limiting free sugars and carbohydrates.
What does the word prevention mean to you?
Prevention is a process that requires dedication, time and patience. From the perspective of a dentist who is keen on helping patients to maintain daily oral routines, prevention is a constant challenge until I establish a trusting relationship with the patient. A trusting relationship allows me to teach my patients to value their oral health and to integrate the tools I give them into their daily routine so as to prevent oral diseases.
What is your ‘golden rule’ or advice that you tell your patients often?
That maintaining and improving oral health – mainly through conscious toothbrushing – is the responsibility of every individual. I am then here to support them, ready to help during the regular dental check-ups or anytime they think something is wrong with their mouth.
What’s the biggest challenge of your job?
Bringing dental care closer to people who can’t access it easily due to their socio-economic conditions or because they have a disability. I also try to motivate my students and colleagues to humanise dentistry, stressing the importance of a warm approach to patients to help them develop healthy habits that favour their oral health self-care.
Welcome to the Billion Healthy Mouths Club
Proper routines in prevention are the future of dentistry – that’s why we at Curaden launched the Billion Healthy Mouths Club – a community of dental professionals committed to the idea of having proper routines in prevention and a holistic approach to dentistry. Dentist Sergio V. Romero is one of those dental professionals who shares these values, and we proudly present his experience and thoughts with other like-minded people from the field. Keep reading our Gently magazine to discover more interviews with forward-thinking professionals from around the world.
What’s the thing that you like about your job the most?
The joy of my patients, especially children and adolescents with disabilities. In those cases, every improvement in their oral health has a deep impact on both their own, and their family’s, quality of life.
What are the specifics of treating children? Are there any moments that you especially enjoy when talking to the youngest patients?
I think it is very important to emphasise that children are people in physical and emotional development, and that is why it is so important to give them affectionate and respectful attention according to their age and abilities in terms of cooperation. Children are definitely not small adults.
Children are always a box of surprises! I have many anecdotes from my work with my youngest patients. Sometimes I have difficult days, but the joy and straightforwardness of children always manages to make me smile.
It makes me laugh when parents say they have followed my advice, but immediately the children say: “No, Dad! That’s not true, you didn’t buy me that toothpaste.” or “I still use a feeding bottle.” Or they come out with more revelations: “Doctor, I brush my teeth but my dad doesn’t.” It shows us the honesty of children and the fertile ground that we have in them in which to work on promoting good oral health.
What’s the most important thing in terms of an oral care routine, from your point of view?
The daily plaque removal, through a personalised oral hygiene method. It should always be done with high-quality supplies: soft toothbrush, interdental brushes, dental floss, and fluoridated toothpaste.
What’s the biggest oral health myth that you fight against?
That’s a hard question, there are many. Frequently, parents tell me that their children ‘were born with decayed or weak teeth’ and that only the dentist can ‘save them’. With this and other myths, we must do our best to change that mindset, and turn our children and their parents into the main actors responsible for their oral health care. Clean teeth will be healthy teeth.
Dr. Sergio Vergara Romero graduated from the Universidad de Concepción in Concepción, Chile. He acquired a specialisation in paediatric dentistry at the Universidad del Desarrollo in Concepción with extra training in preventive and interceptive orthodontics and special care dentistry. He splits his working schedule between being a children’s dental health advisor at the Talcahuano Health Service and providing special dental care to patients who require it at the Penco-Lirquén Hospital. In addition to this, he manages to work as a paediatric dentistry and public health teacher at the Universidad del Desarrollo, Concepción. Dr. Vergara does regular speeches and courses on oral health in early childhood and dental care for people with disabilities, aimed at dentists, health teams, patients and their families. Follow him on Instagram, or reach out to him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.