Friday, April 16, 2010

We ignore dental hygiene.

Last week one of my friends had to extract six of his teeth due to decay. It was alarming and a shock for me.

Dental hygiene becomes a thought and a concern when we find difficulty chewing with one of our teeth. Unfortunate but true that we visit our dentist when a tooth pains. Even in Metros, where dental knowledge and expense are relatively higher, dental hygiene is most neglected.

It’s when we are returning from the dentist with our first root canal done then we are thinking of taking care of the remaining teeth. Even then, how many of us know how to take care of our remaining teeth?

For many, the obvious may be to start brushing after dinner before going to bed. For some, surprising it may sound, it is brushing regularly from now. It is worse if it is a promise to brush properly from now.

Dental hygiene is a serious concern that we are seriously not concerned today. We have to understand that tooth decay is irreversible and realise that the sorrow of not having a critical tooth like a molar or a canine is lifelong. Tooth decay not only spreads to other teeth, but also produces a foul smell.

Did you know that a root canal is actually a process to cut off the supply of nutrients and blood to the tooth, making it a dead brittle tooth, which can chip off any time? Scary, isn’t it?

Dental hygiene is easy, cheap and has long term benefits. It comprises brushing, flossing, cleansing and a six monthly visit to your dentist.

Our daily dental hygiene plan should involve brushing our teeth twice in a day - morning and before going to bed, flossing our teeth and rinsing our mouth with a mouthwash once in a day. Brushing is for overall cleaning, flossing is to remove deeply lodged food particles and cleansing is to reduce the bacterial count and activity.

If we double this daily regime with a six monthly visit to the dentist for specialised tooth cleaning and check up, we are surely assured of a healthy pair of teeth for a lifetime.

It is always re-assuring to have one familiar dentist, as he would know your teeth structure, history and your lifestyle better. So go and make friends with a dentist today. I have made mine.

Wish I had the good sense to follow these instructions when I was a kid. It is important that we teach and enforce dental hygiene to our kids. The best way to enforce is to do it ourselves. Kids learn from their parents, as they take them as examples. If the parents brushes twice daily and enforces the kids to do the same, it is very likely that the kids will pick up the habit too.

I am going to meet my friend tomorrow to look at him and silently resolve to start a more stricter dental hygiene regime. I dont want to extract any of my tooth till I am fifty. Period.


  1. just an addition to the tips on dental hygiene -- instead of using mouth wash(unless recommended by a dentist), which in the long has its own side effects, use plain water and gargle a couple of times after anything or everything you eat/drink. This will be very effective. Also, include more of fruits and veggies and less of carbs. After you eat carb, the peak of decay is within 20 mins! also, you must never use a tooth powder as it has larger abrasive particles. Another imp thing is never brush soon after you had something acidic cuz enamel is weakest in that time and if you brush, there are lot more chances of it being dissolved. I hope this helps to all.

  2. Thanks a zillion Pooja. Very useful inputs. Could you tell us what is the long term negative effect of mouthwash like Listerine.

  3. Well the general side effects are temporary teeth staining, taste alterations and some studies say oral cancer (with very long term use), also if the mouthwash is used by kids and in case they swallow it may be harmful in large quantity.
    Basically Listerine also contains alcohol which may alter the taste and according to 1 study shows development of oral cancer with long term use. So, most dentists would prescribe the mouth wash only for short term usage.
    In case, you do not feel satisfied with water, you can add salt to it and it could work as your homemade mouth wash!


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