Mouth is an entrance of our body and teeth are the soldiers. Teeth play an important role in the digestive system. But do we take care of such a vital organ which is the sentry of our body ? Or are we taking good healthy teeth for granted ? Unfortunately there are many wrong beliefs regarding teeth and hence the incidence of oral and dental diseases are increasing everyday. People do not think about prevention. If one has pain in a tooth, he takes pain killers, uses antibiotics or at worst ignores it till the tooth is badly infected. Then he asks for extraction. I ask them if they had pain and swelling in their fingers or eye would they have waited till it needed removal? The answer is an emphatic " no". If infection is not controlled in time it will spread via blood into the whole body and initiate other diseases. Take for example rheumatic arthritis. 20% to 30% cases are initiated from the infection in the oral cavity. Likewise swelling in the throat, pus discharge in urine, coughing etc. may be sequel of infection in the mouth. It is now well known that if pus is present in the oral cavity, any major surgery like bypass or openheart or knee surgery or even cataract can become a risky business. Even high bloodpressure may be due to infection in the oral cavity, and after proper treatment bloodpressure normalises even without medicine. So, one has to try to make the people aware about dental care. Now we talk about the diseases of teeth.
There are two types of teeth in the human beings, DECIDUOUS and PERMANENT. There is a need to change the belief that deciduous teeth are less important and conservation of these teeth is waste of time, money and energy. So the need to take proper care of diseased deciduous teeth. Now let us look at common dental ailments. The commonest dental disease in the world is 'DENTAL CARIES' or tooth decay. Mouth is host to many micro organisms. They form a thin, tenaceous film which is known as 'PLAQUE'. It adheres to the tooth surface. We eat food and food particles are trapped by plaque on the tooth surface and in between teeth . The micro organisms, by complex biochemical process, form acids. These acids attack the enamel and caries start. If untreated, the caries progresses downwards in the dentin. At this time patient complaints sensitivity and mild pain usually due to collection of food. Even at this stage, if properly treated, the tooth can be saved. If left untreated, caries progresses and reaches to the pulp. Patient has intolerable pain particularly at night or in lying down position. This is known as 'PULPITIS'. During mastication, patient has severe pain and one cannot eat. If proper treatment is not taken, caries progresses upto the root apex and even surrounding areas. At this stage patient has severe pain accompanied by swelling. There is fever and headache. This is known as 'PERIAPICAL ABSCESS'. As the dental decay gradually progresses, one can see that the tooth becomes black and sometimes fractured or chipped off. We can find these changes during brushing or during watching our face in the mirror. There may be cavity formation, this is the beginning of the caries. Sometimes we feel mild pain or sensitivity without any visible changes. So it pays to inspect your teeth in detail periodically.
"PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE"
Five golden rules :