Is It Time for Your Next Dental Check-up?

The high-stress lifestyle which we all live these days leaves us with very little time to take care of one the most important things – our health. There is simply no time to take precautionary measures. The doctor ceases to become someone we visit only when there is no getting out of a health scare, and that too when we are unable to treat the problem ourselves! Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly an appropriate way to go. Timely checks help us avoid last minute tensions, and in turn, time and money so to say.

On that note, we realised that somehow the most ignored health aspect is taking care of our teeth. Unless someone is grappling with a toothache or maybe a loose tooth, there hardly is a time when we visit a dentist on our own. So much so that in the process we fail to see the long-term repercussions of missing a dental check. According to National Oral Health Programme, only 50% of India’s population uses a toothbrush and just 2% of the population visit the dentist.

Teeth are an indicator of not just a clean mouth but also a healthy heart! Yes, you read it right. During a routine dental exam, a dentist will check for any gum problems, decaying of teeth, and any tartar or plaque build-up. However, the overall oral condition will also indicate if you suffer from any vitamin deficiencies (especially vitamin C), and other serious problems such as diabetes or oral cancer. Dentists are also ideally supposed to check for the movement of your lower jaw joints (TMJs) to indicate any joint problems and peripheral head and neck issues. But most importantly, there is a strong link between healthy gums and our heart. Apparently, the oral bacteria easily spread through the body worsening any impending heart diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and other inflammatory conditions. No, we don’t mean to scare our readers at all. Just trying to reiterate the importance of dental hygiene for the overall wellbeing.

Even if you brush twice a day, floss, avoid harmful substances such as tobacco and cigarettes, it is vital to go for a dental exam every six months. That is what the American Dental Association recommends for all, young and old. Just schedule a 6-monthly appointment with your dental practitioner so there will be no hassle in remembering the dates. Do check with the doctor if the daily dental routine you follow is on the right track; if the brushing and flossing technique you use are correct; if there’s anything more that needs to be done for the maintenance of the teeth and gums. At such appointments, you will be checked if the previously done fillings are still strong or need rework. That is critical because the way we chew the food has a direct effect on our entire digestive system. Sometimes, dentists may even ask you to take an x-ray to check for any root damage. That again is very important since it will avoid significant pain, if some tooth root does show to be problematic, in the later days. Hence, dental exams allow a thorough complete protection against future concerns and thus are absolutely indispensable on a periodic basis.

Before any dental procedure, don’t forget to share your medical history with the dentist. It is important that they know about your medications, medical history, heart diseases, diabetes, pregnancy etc. It is also always recommended that you share your health concerns, allergies, or anxieties with the dentist. In today’s age of smartphones, you don’t really need to carry too many files with all such details with you. All you need to do is maintain your medical history through a mobile app, and share the information with the doctor during your visit!

The sound of the drilling by some dental devices or pain experienced during treatment in the past may be keeping you off such visits. However, don’t be nervous. Do remember that it is all momentary. And also, something for your own good. Once the check-up/ treatment is done you are good to go for another couple of months without any worries. Your teeth will look cleaner, you will feel so fresh and healthy, and more than anything else, the bright smile will be so worth it!

 

Medical procedure ahead? Here’s all types of pain, with intensities and pain scale

If you fear physical pain of a medical procedure, this blogpost tells types of pain and how to deal with it…
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

This will resonate with you. Especially if you have to go to a dentist. Yes, we are talking about pain. It is the reason why we put up with pain to not see a dentist or undergo any other procedure that is painful. The problem, however, is that once you put off pain, it comes back to bite you on your backside even more virulently.

The bad news first: There will be pain in many medical procedures.

The good news: Medical science is continually evolving. A visit to the dentist today is much more painless, quick and efficient than it was a decade ago .

pain scale-37--
image courtesy: http://www.ahutton.com

Continue reading Medical procedure ahead? Here’s all types of pain, with intensities and pain scale

What you need to know about keeping your teeth as white as pearls

image courtesy:  dentistinnewportbeach.wordpress.com
image courtesy: dentistinnewportbeach.wordpress.com

They say a set of great teeth adds to the first impression you make, because it is all about a smile. And we know how a lousy set of ‘pearly whites’ can reduce the wattage of a smile. Which is why it is important that you take care of them meticulously.

There are a few things you need to know about whitening teeth and why it is different from cleaning them. It is common for most people’s teeth to get yellowish or dirty due to various kinds of deposits over time. What you need in such a case is a procedure called scaling (which must be performed by a qualified dentist), and you should not do it more than once a year or your pearly whites may lose their strong foundation. Scaling and whitening treatments are not mutually inclusive.

Continue reading What you need to know about keeping your teeth as white as pearls

“Toothpastes are only for placebo effect”

Dr. Abhinav Talekar in a tête-à-tête with Avanika Mote. They talk about toothpastes, fluoride and dental health
________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Abhinav Talekar BDS, MDS
Dr. Abhinav Talekar
BDS, MDS

This afternoon, we caught Dr. Abhinav Talekar, child dental specialist, for a quick 20-minute interview. He was in a rush between patients and appointments. Here’s what we heard from him.

How can we take care of baby teeth without brushing (since they don’t have teeth)?

Dr. Talekar: If your baby is between 0-6 months, a white sterile sponge with water can be used to clean his/her gums. These days there are toothbrushes available for kids between different age groups; Pigeon and MeeMee, to name a few. Also, it is not about which toothbrush or toothpaste to use, but more about correctly brushing the child’s teeth.

Do we really need to take care of milk-teeth?

Dr. Talekar: There should not be any doubt about this. Obviously we should give a lot of attention to a child’s milk-teeth. The child’s last milk-tooth exfoliates at around 14 years. Carrying a decayed tooth for that long can have long-term harmful effects. Healthy baby teeth are important for chewing and eating, so your child can get the nutrition that he or she needs to grow. Teeth are also important for learning to speak properly. Apart from this, a nice smile helps build a child’s self-esteem and social connectivity.

What do you advise for parents who feel scared that their child will not sit for dental procedures?

Dr. Talekar: If adults feel scared about dentistry, how can they expect their child to be fearless on a dental chair? That’s why Pediatric Dentists are there. We work with them like friends, make them comfortable with us on a human note and we always end up getting much better co-operation from children than their parents (smiles).

Since you are a Paediatric Dentist, I want to ask you an interesting question. Is chocolate really bad for your teeth?

Dr. Talekar: (laughs) The blame goes to chocolate. But to be honest, anything that contains sucrose, be it milk cookies or chocolates or chips, if consumed during the night without brushing your teeth afterward, anything can cause plaque. But since chocolate is more popular among kids, it takes the blame! It doesn’t matter what you eat, it matters how long you keep it in your mouth.

What is the most common dental problem in kids you come across in your practice?

Dr. Talekar: Teeth caries are the most common among kids here in Pune and parents lack awareness about this.

What is your take on fluoride in toothpastes?

Dr. Talekar: See, fluoride is always debatable. Yes, it is true that excessive fluoride in water is harmful and may cause fluorosis but use of fluoride for the prevention and control of caries is well-documented to be safe and effective. According to a recent policy passed by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, children below two years of age can use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste. From two to five years onwards, a pea-sized amount should be used.

Which is your personal favourite toothpaste for kids and adults? 

Dr. Talekar: I knew this question was coming (smiles). I don’t want to come off as someone who is marketing toothpastes. Yet, if I have to answer this question, my personal picks for kids would be: Kidodent, Pigeon and MeeMee. For adults, Colgate Total is a good toothpaste but as I said, it doesn’t matter which toothpaste or toothbrush you use. What matters is the  number of times you brush and more importantly, the way you brush your teeth. Otherwise toothpaste is just for a placebo effect according to me.

On a candid note, which is your favourite holiday destination?

Dr. Talekar: Goa with friends and Karde Beach (Maharashtra) with my better half

(Dr. Abhinav Talekar is a paediatric dentist practicing in Pune since 2009. His clinic is located in Khopkar Heights, Opposite YMCA Club, Quarter Gate Chowk, Camp)