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UK Against Fluoridation

Monday, August 13, 2007

NEW DELHI - Oral neglect wipes off city smiles

Oral neglect wipes off city smiles
NEW DELHI: The coming years might see fewer Delhi’ites smiling. It's not the happiness quotient that is declining but orthodontists say that an increasing number of people in the Capital are falling prey to tooth problems. Orthodontists and dentists across Delhi maintain that, in spite of growing awareness about oral hygiene, people in Delhi and elsewhere in the country have failed to imbibe healthy oral practices which keep tooth problems at bay. As a result, tooth problems — in particular instances of tooth decay — have been spiralling, often requiring removal of the tooth or surgery. Says Dr. Naseem Shah, HoD, Dental surgery, AIIMS: "The standard of oral hygiene amongst Indians is extremely low. Although people talk about healthy practices like brushing their teeth twice a day and visiting the dentist once in six months, very few adhere to it. Ignorance is the primary reason why an increasing number of dental problems are taking a serious turn. Around 50 percent of Indians suffer from some tooth problem or other and are prone to tooth decay." Tooth decay happens due to demineralisation of the tooth. Teeth have four parts — enamel, dentine, cementum and pulp. It starts with enamel and slowly progresses to affect the pulp. In the initial stage there is no pain or obvious evidence of tooth decay. It is only in the later stages, when the decay starts affecting the pulp that it starts hurting. The pain starts suddenly and is quite severe in nature. There is no option except to go for root canal or removal of the tooth. Indians have never been conscious about oral hygiene. The primary reason behind most cases of tooth decay is our diet. Studies have shown that certain ethnic groups are more prone to tooth decay as diet has a huge impact on the health of teeth. Delhiites especially — with their high consumption of sweets, potato based products, white flour based products and junk food are at high risk of tooth decay. There are already millions of bacteria present in the mouth and they act upon the food particles, especially carbohydrates to produce an acid which erodes the tooth. When bacteria acts upon the food particles, it produces dental plaque that builds around the tooth almost every eight hours and harms the teeth, which is why frequent brushing is essential. It's not only consumption of food rich in carbohydrates and sugar that brings about tooth decay but also the frequency of consumption : "Having three helpings of a sweet dish once a day is better than having one helping three times a day," says Dr Neeraj Verma of Apollo Hospital. A diet rich in calcium and fluoride also help strengthen the tooth enamel. Fluoride is the biggest enemy of dentist as it prevents tooth decay to a large extent. In many developed countries water is fluoridated. "In places like USA, fluoridation of water and fluoride based tooth pastes have helped reduce tooth decay to a large extent. However, such measures are absent in India", says Dr. Ramesh Mathur, Hod, department of dentistry, Max Healthcare. kamayani.singh@timesgroup.com

I thought that India had a problem with too much fluoride in the water.

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