Oral and Dental Health
Majority of our countrymen are quite ignorant of benefits of good oral health. Oral and dental diseases in India are on the upswing. The incidence of Dental Caries (tooth decay) had gone up from 40% to 60% during the sixties and it is around 80% to 85% today. It is very much on the increase, especially among children. The incidence of Periodontal Disease (gum disease) is around 90% to 95% contributing to other general diseases like arthritis, gastritis various lung and heart diseases. The negligence of oral hygiene, betel chewing, tobacco chewing, smoking etc. contribute to oral cancers. Out of 100 different kinds of cancers diagnosed in India about 4 oral cancers.
With the advancement of Dental Science and proper home care, it is possible to retain natural dentition throughout life. In order to achieve this, we must concentrate on the following aspects.
Avoid soft diet poor in fiber content and rich in refined carbohydrates (refined sugar). These lead to the formation of bacterial plaque underneath the gums and around the teeth surfaces. Excessive smoking, use of betel leaves and nuts, tobacco chewing and pan masalas, should be avoided as they are known to be cancerous. A clean tooth never decays. The teeth should be properly cleaned with a soft toothbrush after every meal using fluoride toothpaste. This helps in breaking up the bacterial plaque and minimizing it to be calcified leading to calculus (tartar) formation.
The calculus can only be removed by a Dentist/Dental Hygienist which will help prevent Periodontal Disease. A proper way for brushing the teeth is very important. Brush your teeth the way they grow. Upper teeth are brushed downwards. Lower teeth are brushed from gums to teeth, rotating the brush upwards. Inner surfaces are brushed backward and forward. Massaging the gums, rinsing mouth with fresh water, cleaning the tongue with brush or tongue cleaner and using dental floss or tooth pick is also very helpful in maintaining the oral hygiene.
Oral health depends to a great extent on proper nutrition. A balanced diet plays a great role in maintaining dental health. Milk, fresh chewy fruits and green vegetables rich in calcium, fluorides, phosphorus and fibrous diet help to a great extent in maintaining optimum dental health. Make the dentist your friend and visit him at least once in six months for a check-up even if you have no apparent dental trouble.
Since volumes are available condemning the evils of smoking. tobacco/zarda chewing, pan masala, drugs, alcohol, it is wise to be silent on these topics. However the author cannot resist appending a few words on the subject.