- A measure taken for the prevention of a disease. For example, dental prophylaxis consists of removing plaque and cleaning the teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease. The word "prophylaxis" is straight from the Greek and means "an advance guard".
* * *Prevention of disease or of a process that can lead to disease. [Mod. L. fr. G. pro-phylasso, to guard before, take precaution]- active p. use of an antigenic (immunogenic) agent to actively stimulate the immunologic mechanism.- chemical p. the administration of chemicals or drugs to members of a community to reduce the number of carriers of a disease and to prevent others contracting the disease.- dental p. a series of procedures whereby calculus, stain, and other accretions are removed from the clinical crowns of the teeth, and the enamel surfaces are polished.- passive p. use of an antiserum from another person or animal to provide temporary protection against a specific infectious or toxic agent.
* * *pro·phy·lax·is -'lak-səs n, pl -lax·es -'lak-.sēz measures designed to preserve health and prevent the spread of disease: protective or preventive treatment <\prophylaxis against viral diseases> <a paste containing fluorine for dental \prophylaxis>
* * *n.any means taken to prevent disease, such as immunization against diphtheria or whooping cough, or fluoridation to prevent dental decay in children.• prophylactic adj.
* * *pro·phy·lax·is (pro″fə-lakґsis) [Gr. prophylassein to keep guard before] intervention aimed at the prevention of disease; called also preventive treatment, prophylactic treatment, and protective therapy.
Medical dictionary. 2011.