For information, contact
Dr. Fred S. Ferguson
Health Migration Consulting
Tel: 631-678-8438

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What is Risk?

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Risk is the chance of suffering an illness or experiencing harm.


Common oral infections, tooth decay, bleeding gums (i.e. gingivitis), breath problems (i.e. oral malodor) and dental bone loss (i.e. periodontitis) are caused by harmful mouth germs. Harmful mouth germs are passed from caregivers to children in their early childhood and from person to person throughout life. Risk for mouth problems is mostly about behaviors (i.e. poor diet habits, lack of self care, lack of timely dental visits); but includes chronic illness, medication side affects and lifestyle choices (e.g. alcohol and tobacco).


For the few who have good oral health throughout life, heredity can play a role; but for most people, lifestyle and habits are the major concerns. For those who practice good oral health yet do suffer bone loss around healthy teeth, heredity (i.e. genetics) can play an important role.


My SmileGuide is a library of questions about behaviors, habits, conditions and concerns known to be important for good oral health or that increase risk for oral illness. Evidence is increasing that oral health and overall health are linked through many risk concerns. Questions are selected from the library determined by the person's age who is the subject (child, teen, adult, or senior) of the registration process in My SmileGuide. Based on the replies to the questions, responses provide information to support oral health or behavioral intervention to address the risk concern specific to the subject. Each question has a score and most questions include the frequency of the concern (such as how often someone eats sugars and starches) as part of the scoring model.


Questions are organized in domains such as “self care”, “child care”, and “diet/nutrition” to enable the user to review specific areas of concern. My SmileGuide adds all the scores of the subject's questionnaire to provide an oral health “SMILE” score. The “SMILE” score is an estimation of the subject's oral health. It is possible that someone can have a good “SMILE” score and not be aware that oral problems are present as tooth decay or bone loss, can start before you know it. This is why regular dental visits are the only way to really know that someone truly has optimal oral health. If you have tooth decay, bleeding gums, loose teeth and chronic breath problems, your overall health is poor and sooner or later your you will know it.


Calculating person's oral health status is not an exact science. However using current information, My SmileGuide will help you understand concerns to your oral health or that for someone in your care so that you can make changes that will benefit your (their) health