Essentials for Healthy Living: The Facts of Proper Oral Hygiene
“There are two things in life that a sage must preserve at every sacrifice, the coats of his stomach and the enamel of his teeth. Some evils admit of consolations, but there are no comforters for dyspepsia and the toothache.”
~ Henry Lytton Bulwer
Ever wondered upon the fact that how day in and out, you are continuously, knowingly or unknowingly, increasing the burden on your health care in general and oral care in particular? How your little actions destroy your body slowly and gradually; and when it shows up as a big mess, you finally acknowledge what have you have been doing with yourself.
Mouth, the gateway to your body , the articulator of your speech; is equipped with the buds that let you enjoy the pleasures of tastes and most importantly, it is the holder of your chewing machinery, without which you can only dread to imagine your life. Now let’s see what actually are you doing to your chewing machinery, either knowingly or unknowingly, every day.
The dilemma of this age is either people are not aware, or if they are aware, the majority is many a times wrongly aware. We tell our kids “brush long and good”, “I don’t want your bad breadth to embarrass me in front of the guests”, “no candies”, “no chocolates” and the worst; “go brush as soon as you finish your meal”. Upon following such orders, children develop instincts and cannot easily go questioning these habits in the future, which are actually not true in their full meaning.
Brushing teeth right after the meal can do more harm sometimes than if not done. After consuming any acidic food, let it be pickle based, citrus fruits or the all time favorite fizzy cold drinks; the enamel of the teeth gets softened by the acid attack. Ironically, brushing right after that you are actually helping remove this protective covering. The recommendations suggest waiting at-least half an hour to let the saliva neutralize the acid just consumed and return the enamel to its normal state.
Enamel, the outermost translucent layer of the teeth is a crystalline structure made up of calcium hydroxyapatite crystals and small amounts of organic matter and water. Underneath it is another hard layer, comparatively less in strength to the enamel, it is less resilient and darker than the enamel and gives teeth their color. These two layers are potential targets of the acid demineralization. The enamel layer once breached predisposes tooth to increased susceptibility to the action of acid and bacterial metabolites produced as a result of degradation of food particles stuck between the teeth and in the grooves present on them. Sweet products and carbohydrate rich diet are the greatest contributors.
Speaking of sweets, chocolates and candies, anything is good if it is made of chocolate. Chocolate is not cheating! After a salty meal, you need a little bit of sweet. This is living, not cheating.
However, we for a moment, do not think about banning this pleasure to the young ones. While we admit that its excess is bad for health and teeth, yet you cannot deny the sweet pleasure in its taste. As a matter of fact the chocolate that we consider too damaging and devastating for the teeth is cleared out by saliva quicker than the potato chips, which mothers love to serve as a replacement at meal time.
Interestingly, potato is more damaging, as they have greater possibility of getting stuck into the spaces you have between your teeth than the soft chocolate. The potato remnants provide a harboring place for bacteria and tooth destruction more than the notorious chocolate. The truth is one can only hate chocolate while playing the Candy Crush Saga.
How we eat is as important as what we eat. The modern day diet and lifestyle is enough to make us leap into early age health and teeth problems. Mixing hot and cold, trying hot coffee right after a cold fizzy drink or an ice cream for instance, the excessive consumption of acidic beverages especially with food, etc, all impact the health and condition of teeth. There is apparently nothing wrong with sitting with a bunch of friends having a sizzling piece of pizza in your right hand and a cold drink in your left hand, but think of the miserable teeth in your mouth which you are torturing with the intense thermal cycling.
The sudden change in temperatures from hot to cold and vice versa, due to such actions, lead to development of cracks in crystalline enamels structure. These cracks can cause sensitivity and are potential sites for stain accumulation. After years of neglect and mishandling, due to some reasons discussed above; when we look up at our teeth and find them cavitated, sensitive, or stained; we rush to the dentist and complain that dental treatment is too damn expensive, whereas the fact remains, that it is not dental treatment that costs us, it’s gross neglect.
There is no dentist who can take care of your teeth or no doctor who can take care of your body until you yourself don’t want to do so! What lies ahead of us is to learn ourselves and teach it to those around us to take time out, look for things good for us, practice ourselves and preach others, achieve a healthy life style and choose to eat the right things and take care of ourselves. Within a healthy body lies a healthy soul and with these two lies the real pleasure of living a life.
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