The idea of entropy is well known to any theoretical physicist. It is thought of as the phenomenon whereby, “All things in the universe will naturally proceed from a more ordered state to a less ordered state unless an outside force or energy acts upon them.” Ice melts, old cars break down, our aging bodies deteriorate; the evidence of entropy is all around us. It can be frustrating that so much effort is required just to keep from sliding backwards into disorder, but this is just the way that our universe works.
If we can accept that nothing can be truly permanent, then what is the best way to make the things of our physical world as long-lasting as possible? Constant and vigilant maintenance is the best answer. It is always more simple and less painful to fix small entropic challenges as they arise. Entropy acts continuously and cumulatively. It is guaranteed to be destructive if left to run its course. If you have ever wondered how a car collector can keep his century-old Model T looking as if it has just rolled off the assembly line, the answer is knowledge of, and respect for the powerful force of entropy.
Entropy is at work on our teeth every day of our lives. Only those who actively work against it will be rewarded with a healthy smile. It does not seem fair, but it is built into the mechanics of our universe. When someone neglects entropy by assuming that his or her teeth will be just fine if he or she does not do anything to hurt them, they are sure to regret it later on. In dentistry it is always better to stay in front of entropy than to catch up with it. Prophylaxis (preventative teeth cleaning) is always less difficult, less painful, and less costly than restoration. In the end, no one can beat the natural force of entropy, but luckily there are easy ways of adapting to it, and preserving the things that we care about.