Why oral healthcare should be taken more seriously.
Studies show that more than 70% of 12- year-old children suffer from dental decay. – Reuters
JUST mentioning the word toothache is usually enough to make people wince. Understandably, many avoid seeing a dentist until the pain becomes unbearable. Such delays can lead to complications, and potentially compromise the ability to swallow or speak.
Although statistics from the National Oral Health Survey of Adults (NOHSA 2010) showed that an alarming 88.9% of adults had dental caries, the public’s cognizance on the importance of oral healthcare still remains at low levels.
In addition, we still see reports from studies showing that more than 70% of 12-year-old children suffer from dental decay. Worse still, surveys have shown that eight to 10 milk teeth of Malaysian pre-school children are affected by caries even before they turn five.
The good news is, despite the high prevalence of caries, there is mounting evidence that tooth decay and cavities can be most effectively deterred by understanding what causes caries and following a few simple rules.
A combination of an effective daily oral care routine and an annual consultation with a dentist can be a good start.
Oral care is important for everyone’s health and well-being for a variety of reasons. Considering the impact of dental disorders, it is astonishing to see how often it is ignored. Evidence shows more than 3.6 billion people are suffering from caries globally, which today is categorised as an infectious disease.
It’s more unfortunate if children are the sufferers – the pain combined with swelling can hinder the ability to eat and speak, stunting a child’s growth. They end up missing hours of school, affecting their quality of life.
The pain increases when the tooth has to be extracted, leaving a wound that is just as painful, if not more painful, than before the extraction, and which takes time to heal.
A child under five with 50% of the 20 baby teeth affected by caries is at a higher risk of having other health problems when he/she becomes an adult. Unfortunately, the impact of caries is not limited to oral health, but to general health and overall quality of life.
Why do cavities develop?
Dental decay is caused by three major factors: bacteria, food and bad oral health. Except for bacteria, the other two – the food we eat and the oral condition of teeth and saliva – are within our control.
Make sure to have a balanced diet with fibrous foods, and limit the amount of daily sugar consumption.
Eat at the right time, with few snacks in between. Avoid foods that are sticky and starchy, as they retain the plaque mass for a longer duration on the tooth surface.
Plaque sticks on both hard and soft surfaces, and nurtures bacteria. It takes less than five minutes for your sugared food to be sought after by some two million resident bacteria in your mouth, particularly Streptococcus mutans and its relatives (Strep salivarius, Strep viridians, etc).
by Prof Dr Rahimah Abdul Kadir.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Health/2014/03/30/Show-off-your-teeth-Oral-care-is-important-for-wellbeing/