Dental Care

TAKING CARE OF YOUR TEETH

  • Human teeth are covered with a thin, whitish film known as dental plaque’, where bacteria tend to thrive. Also, there is bacteria always present in the mouth.
  • Regular cleaning of the teeth, through brushing, helps control the amount of bacteria present in the mouth and around the teeth.
  • However, if oral hygiene is not maintained properly, the bacteria tend to multiply, thus causing a multitude of diseases.

Common dental problems

  • Dental Caries is a condition that is caused by the interaction of 3 factors - the susceptible tooth surface, the microbial plaque and food items rich in carbohydrates.
  • The acids present in these carbohydrate rich foods lead to the change in the chemical composition of the tooth enamel. This in turn causes cavities.
  • Periodontal conditions tend to affect the gums and bones; characterized by red, swollen gums and is often accompanied by bleeding.If not treated at the right time, it can lead to bone loss and generation of foul odour.
  • This condition is further enhanced in the case of those who suffer from diabetes or those who consume tobacco.
  • At an advanced stage, this form of dental conditions can also lead to the development of root caries.
  • Loss of teeth is one of the most common issues faced by the elderly.
  • This issue also affects the chewing of food, due to which the person is forced to shift to consuming soft, mushy food.
  • This prevents the person from consuming fruits and vegetables, in the process leading to issues related to nutrition.
  • Oral canceris the 3rd most prevalent form of cancer in India. It is widely prevalent for various reasons, such as consumption of paan (betel leaf), chewing of gutka/ tobacco, smoking cigarette or beedi, drinking alcohol, poor oral hygiene or nutritional deficiencies.

Prevention

  • Refrain from habits such as consumption of paan (betel leaf), gutka, cigarettes/beedi, snuff, and hookah and so on.
  • Using a toothbrush with toothpaste is the best way of cleaning your teeth.
  • Coarse tooth powder should be avoided as it tends to erode the gums and also leads to increased sensitivity of the teeth.
  • The correct method of brushing should be inculcated, i.e, up and down strokes, starting from the margins of the gum.
  • Use of dental floss and inter-proximal brushes is encouraged to clean between each tooth.The tongue should also be cleaned regularly.

How to care for your artificial dentures

  • Dentures should be removed at night.
  • They should be washed, cleaned and kept in water overnight.
  • This process is beneficial as it gives the tissues time to recuperate from the constant wear and tear of the oral mucous membrane, caused by wearing dentures.
  • The denture should be cleaned with soap in the morning, before being used.
  • After every meal, it is advisable to remove the dentures and wash them thoroughly.
  • Denture cleaning powders, that are available in the market, should be used to clean the denture and remove stains.

Choose Fibre over Sugar

  • The quantity as well as the frequency of sweet intake (especially during meals) should be restricted.
  • Fibrous food such as green, leafy vegetables should be consumed on a daily basis.
  • Cheese has good anti-caries properties, and should be consumed (but in moderation).

Use of Fluoride

  • Fluoride is known to strengthen the tooth enamel and makes it more resistant to acid attack.
  • It can be used either locally or internally.
  • For local use, fluoride can be used in the form of fluoridated toothpastes and fluoride mouth washes, both of which are available in the market.
  • Fluoride usage in old age is particularly important, since the elderly are more vulnerable to caries.
  • Those elderly;who are on medications to treat chronic illnesses or those who are forced to undergo chemotherapy to fight cancer are at an increased risk of developing multiple caries.
  • For such people, apart from fluoride enriched toothpaste, the daily usage of 0.2% fluoride mouth wash is a must.
  • Apart from this, regular oral check-up’s every 6 months is necessary.In addition to the check-up every 6 months, it is important for the elderly to be observant and check for any red/white pigmented patches.
  • If they observe that these patches persist for more than 2 weeks or so, the doctor should be consulted immediately.
  • It is important to remember that oral cancer, if detected early, can be cured successfully.