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Dental Byte

The Importance of Oral Hygiene

Dental hygiene and prevention of dental diseases
By: Dr. Noeen Arshad
BDS CAGS MSc
Diplomatic American Board of Pediatric Surgery

Dr. Noeen Arshad<br />BDS CAGS MSc<br />Diplomatic American Board of Pediatric Surgery Dr Noeen Arshad is a Consultant Pediatric Dentist and Orthodontist in Islamabad.

The Importance of Oral Hygiene Dentistry has come a long way in the last ten years. Dentistry has benefitted from the emerging nano science and incorporation of nano materials into modern day dental practice. From diagnostic advances with 3D cone beam technology to high quality diagnostic softwares to advances in hardware like dental implants, all has benefitted our patients and made dentistry a very modern diagnostic and therapeutic science.

However, the fundamentals of prevention have more or less remained the same. Good food, good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups all formulate the foundation of good dental prevention regime. Unfortunately in our country the word "prevention" is not given its due. Where we can spend thousands to create a condition (be it a dental cavity or gingivitis/bleeding gums) we are not willing to spend even half that amount to prevent that condition from happening. In our culture sadly, our priorities are different. Just to give an example I often quote; we spend thousands on facials, manicures and pedicures and makeups - be it party makeup or bridal make up but we over look that nagging problem of bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, bad smell and stained teeth. I rest my case!

Prevention of dental disease can be undertaken both at home and by the dentist. Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing and consumption of non-cariogenic diet is at the heart of prevention of dental disease.

In addition, a regular visit to the dentist (twice a year) helps the dentist identify early signs of dental disease and help educate the patient. They also help the dentist evaluate the patients oral hygiene and preventive measures adopted by the patient as well as risk factors like high sugar consumption, smoking, use of smoke free tobacco, pan supari and in case of infants use of baby bottle at night.

Where as poor oral hygiene and lack of brushing after high sugar intake lead to dental decay and gum disease, consumption of pan supari is the leading cause of cancer of the mouth. Nursing caries or baby bottle tooth decay, also now known as early childhood caries, is a result of consumption of milk and other sugar liquids in a baby bottle especially at nighttime.

Dentistry is expensive world wide hence it's prudent to prevent dental disease than to spend loads in curing dental problems.