When it comes to caring for an kid ( 0-4 years), most parents are well aware of the need for routine pediatrician visits as part of their baby’s health care regimen. Most of them visit the doctor for routine check ups, vaccinations etc but very few Indian parents consider going to a dentist. In fact, if they did they would save themselves a lot of problems afterwards!
In the dentistry world, it is well-recognized how important and necessary is a child’s early and regular dental care. For optimal oral health, the Indian Dental Association (IDA) recommends that dental visits begin with the appearance of a child’s first tooth as an effective way to have a lifelong program of preventive and good dental care and oral hygiene. Small children need to be taught the importance of looking after their teeth, so it is only fair that you as their parents share your knowledge and teach the children from an early age about oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
A few tips for early dental care –
Buy them a brush by age 1.5 years when the teeth start popping up ! Introducing a baby to his/her new first toothbrush can be fun, think about having a Disney character logo on it. This will encourage him/her to use that brush and better still the baby will know this particular bristled cleaner is theirs. This is also the time to teach them good oral hygiene. Experiencing his/her first encounter with the toothbrush should be an exciting event for the baby, where you get to show the toddler what it is for and how to use it.
This will not be too hard because as we know all babies put everything into their mouths so there we are, half the battle won. A good way to start is with a plastic cup containing two tablespoons of water, then squeeze a small amount of toothpaste into the liquid then stir. This can turn out to be a messy routine but more effective otherwise they tend to eat the toothpaste directly without brushing !
A baby will love every minute of dipping his own brush in and out of the cup, remember to supervise the baby at all times. Regular checkups to the dentist will allow the baby to become more comfortable with a dentist and not be scared of dental check ups!
Listen to the dentist and to the advice he may give, in case the teeth have cavities or are dirty because even in milk teeth, kids do get cavities!
Sometimes the teeth are crooked or broken , in that case too don’t be negligent and think that “these are only temporary teeth and these will break away , so why bother ?”… bother you must because the permanent teeth too will be misshapen-ed if the temporary are !
As a good parent, good oral hygiene for your kid is in your best interest too . You will spend less money on their later dental visits and cure if you are careful from the beginning ! It is therefore, in your best interest to adhere to the golden rules on how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. This can save a lot of pain and suffering down the road and also a lot of money!
One Baby Tooth + One Dental Visit = Zero Cavities
For every tooth, visit the dentist once!
“The ‘first-tooth visit’ lets the dentist check for proper oral and facial development, see if the teeth are growing in properly, and also detect early tooth decay. It also gives the dentist a chance to walk the parents through a complete program of home dental care for the child.
Tooth decay, even in the earliest stages of life, can have serious implications for a child’s long-term health and well-being-and it’s becoming more of a problem every day. A recent report from the Indian Dental Association has reported that in 2018-19 there was an increase of 15.5% of cavities in two- to five-year olds, due to bad oral health and eating chocolates, candies and also sleeping with a sweetened milk bottle in mouth. In fact this single practice of giving a milk bottle before bed and not brushing at night has been identified as the single largest cause of tooth decay as the most common childhood disease.
A possible contributor to this trend is the fact that only three out of five children visit a dentist at least once a year. While parents may avoid taking a child to the dentist to save money, studies show that children who have their first dental visit before age one have 40 percent lower dental costs in their first five years than children who don’t, making preventive care a sound health and economic decision.
Without preventive care, the impact of tooth decay on child development can be striking. A study in Pediatric Dentistry showed that children with cavities were significantly more likely to weigh less than 80 percent of their ideal body weight. Even more disturbing is evidence that the effects of poor oral health may be felt for a lifetime. Emerging research suggests that improper oral hygiene may increase a child’s risk of having heart disease or suffering a stroke as an adult.
Rainy season and cold weathers are often a difficult time for some people and if you google the word “SAD” ( in capitals) , you will know that it is a seasonal depression that affects a lot of people around the world. Apart from SAD and the forced lockdown and not much activity to do , there has been a rise in people feeling sad or depressed, anxious or angry and all these emotions are ok as long as they do not hamper the working of our day-to-day life!
It is such an important issue that in a dental blog too , we cannot ignore it . We have to understand that mind controls all- our thoughts, our self care, our organs and how we behave, react, respond and basically live! Without good mental health we cannot have good dental health as all of it is interconnected.
Sometimes we get up feeling heavy, sluggish exhausted and confused, but this is not clinical depression , it can be termed as depression only when that happens every single day and for months on end. With the recent suicides of celebrities and some young aspiring actors, the limelight is back on the benefits of good mental health.
Many a times we just are not motivated enough to go to work or even scared, we drag ourselves out of bed, and into the bathroom. We cannot even decide on simple things like not decide whether to shave or shower first, and keep staring blankly at the wall…well that is the time we need to see a mental health worker, a doctor, therapist or a good friend to talk to. Typical thoughts that run through the head of a depressed person every morning are will I ever get over this feeling? Will I ever be happy? Why do I feel like this all the time? Maybe this is normal and I will eventually get over it?
The most important thing to do is to understand that depression is just a disease like diabetes or cold and flu and needs to be treated, monitored and routinely checked.
A diary entry from a depressed person would read something like this- “Finally, I realised that even small tasks seemed monumental and overwhelming to me, like brushing my teeth or taking a bath, but I pushed on. I started my day by looking for faults in everything and everyone and I was very short tempered with those closest to me. On the outside though, I put up a great front so no one could see, but I was trapped inside a deep dark world, a personal hell which was dark and endless, it was a veil of dark cloud that refused to go and I was depressed and felt hazy “.
The greatest problem is not depression , but the feeling that no one will understand. There are medications, therapy and mindfulness techniques that can help you overcome depression completely , but the first step is • knowing that you are depressed and • the second step is to know that it is treatable!
The only person that can drag you out of depression is you, but for that one has to be absolutely committed to taking medications and being determined to defeat the monster of depression. Once the medicines set in one can easily regain one’s focus, drive, energy and care for self and others.
Depression is an emotionally draining journey that many will go through in their lifetime, but depression does not have to rule your life there is plenty of help available. Answers and treatments will vary from person to person what works for one person may not work for another. Allowing the state of depression to control you and be the norm will negatively affect you and others. Depression drags you down to depths that you feel you don’t have the energy to accomplish anything or even beat depression itself, a vicious cycle. Depression appears to cause many physical illness’s that can be overcome with treatment. It’s time now, for us all to understand and defeat depression especially in elderly people .
Being able to feel normal and handle life is your right. When people look at others that are cool and calm, they appear to have everything under control that might not be the case, because many of us can put of a really good front. Putting up a good front is ok for a while, but you need to address the disorders. “Depression slowly erodes your will and breaks down any attempt at your happiness for a normal life this is not what anyone wants.
Finally, I want all of you to know that depressed people are highly intelligent, loving and sensitive people that have a lot to contribute to the world, but they need to realize that they are depressed, admit it and find a solution. Remember – • Depression is a very serious matter, which does not discriminate.
• Depression does not care what your age is, what gender you are or even what your race or social class is.
• Depression can often make a person feel sad, helpless, hopeless and irritable.
• Depression is an illness that affects your body, mind, attitude, thoughts, sleep, energy, concentration, weight and behaviour.
• Depression is not a mood, it is not a sign of personal weakness, and it cannot be simply willed away.
• Clinical depression can be devastating to all areas of a person’s everyday life, including family ,relationships, friendships, and the ability to work or study.
• And finally depression is treatable with medicines and meditation !
Well, we all know the bad effects of stress on our body , mind and skin ,but very few people actually know what it does to your teeth and gums!
You are aware of the physical and emotional symptoms of stress such migraines, blood pressures, heart problems, depression and anxiety. But did you know that stress can also affect your oral and dental health? It’s important to pinpoint the causes of your stress and know your body’s early warning signs especially dental signs and take steps to reduce your stress.
Yes! Stress absolutely ruins oral health and in fact, bad oral health is considered a direct indicator of high stress in your life!
You would never know if there is stress in your body, unless indicators like these issue a warning!!!
Recently, a patient walked into one of our Partha Clinics with severe gum erosion, infection and damage to teeth. On taking medical history we realized that he did not have any bad habits like smoking, tobacco chewing etc, not was his diet lacking in nutrition and yet, he was experiencing horrible symptoms of dental decay. Talking to the patient further we were shocked to hear that he had very high stress as a share marketer, he also could not sleep at night, he was battling insomnia and so we realized that stress was causing his gums to erode and teeth to decay! hence, this blog today.
Most people think that eating good food and keeping teeth clean is all it takes to have good dental health but that is only half the truth. Avoiding stress and regular sleep too is a necessary condition in today’s stressful world; in getting your teeth to shine and sparkle.
So let us see the different oral health conditions that can occur due to stress.
Oral infections or Canker sores- These are white or red spots, lines or little pus filled pimples in the inner lining of your mouth. These are extremely painful and hurt a lot while eating salty food. Many people use over –the –top ointments and creams and gels that are available in the market to cure these sores. If left on their own they can heal in 2-3 weeks without medication. These canker sores are directly correlated with stress and lack of sleep .These can be brought on by stress has been proved in clinical researches in the University of Leads medical research centre in UK.
Teeth Grinding or Bruxism – This is an early indication of stress in individuals especially children. Many kids during the time of exams or other anxiety filled events like competitions etc are known to develop Bruxism. It can cause damage to your teeth and enamel as well as headaches and soreness in the jaw. As grinding often occurs during the night you may not be aware you are doing it but it is ruining your teeth nevertheless. Your dentist may recommend a night guard to protect your teeth from damage. Sometimes in adults experiencing some stress, teeth grinding can happen during the day, as well especially if you are concentrating on something.
Gum Disease: Stress can lower your immune system and increase your risk for infection in the mouth, including gum decay, bleeding gums, gum rot, infections and bad smelling breath and in some cases the “Burn mouth syndrome” too in which the patient just cannot feel any taste or salt and feels like a layer is always covering the insides of the mouth and the mouth isn’t clean. All these are symptoms set on by stress.
Dry Mouth- Another common dental problem which is both a side effect of stress as well as the medicines used to treat stress and depression is the Dry Mouth. The mouth’s first line of defense against bacteria is saliva, and in this disease the saliva reduces, without enough saliva there is an increased risk of tooth decay and fall, gum disease and infection.
Jaw issues, or disorders of the jaw joint or chewing muscles. These can cause pain around the ear or face and the patient thinks that the pain is due to the teeth, whereas the pain is due to the jaw muscles being affected due to stress, teeth grinding or low immunity.
General Tooth Decay: Just as we saw in the patient who walked it with severe tooth damage despite good food and no bad habits, similarly a generalized tooth decay is seen in people with high stress jobs or lifestyle. A neglected oral health routine, unhealthy lifestyle choices and conditions such as dry mouth further increase the risk of tooth decay.
Decreased immune response, caused by stress, which can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.
Reduce your stress symptoms
It’s important to get to the root of the problem and figure out why you’re stressed. Once you’ve pinpointed the causes, think about how to lower your stress levels. In the meantime, follow these steps to get relief for painful oral symptoms:
Talk to your dentist about treatment options and visit a Partha dental clinic near to your place.
Address teeth grinding by asking your dentist about getting a custom-fitted night guard. It can be worn at night to prevent tooth damage caused from grinding and clenching. The night guard also creates a cushion to remove stress on your aching muscles and joint tissues.
Avoid hard, sugary, sticky or crunchy foods as they ruin teeth health and cause dental decay.
Don’t use cigarettes and alcohol to handle stress as they further aggravate the problem. These products make your oral symptoms worse.
Manage pain through gentle massage, physical therapy or pain relief medications.
Ask about prescription medications. Anti-inflammatory drugs can help inflammation of the jaw joint. Antiviral drugs may prevent cold sores.
Eat health food and try meditation and yoga to calm yourself down.
Avoid stress and have healthy teeth and shining smile!