Prevention Better Than Cure

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Prevention better than cure

EVERY dentist I have met says people don’t floss enough. They say we have to floss more often. Floss if you want to keep your teeth. Not flossing regularly leads to tooth decay and other periodontal disease which can also mean tooth loss in adults.

When children lose their baby teeth, new ones take their place. However, if baby teeth are lost prematurely, permanent teeth may come out malpositioned, giving rise to uneven teeth. This means a child may need orthodontics or braces later on. In adults, bad teeth can mean the need for extraction, root canal, crown, bridge or implants. Ignoring oral health and hygiene can be painful not only physically but also financially.

In children with special needs, any dental work can mean admission to the hospital, usually as a day case. My son Omar had a beautiful set of baby teeth. Because of his condition and disabilities, we minimised sweetened foods as well as those that are gooey and which stick to the teeth. He never had cavities in his baby teeth and they came off according to his age, truly a textbook case.

So when his permanent teeth grew, it grew nice, straight and strong, albeit with slight gaps in between. The dentist and I agreed that in his case, it was a good thing because this meant that less food could get stuck between his teeth and it certainly made cleaning them easier. In other children, braces may have been suggested.

However, despite that and his annual check-ups, he had cavities as a teenager. When Omar was younger, before he was 10 years old, going to the dentist was fairly easy. I would gently hold him down and the very skilled dentist would make a swift check once he opened his mouth long enough.

When Omar grew older, he learnt to clench his jaws and protest, and all his dentist could see was the front of his teeth. Omar would yelp and attempt to get off the chair. The dentist would tell us that if Omar was eating well and generally maintained good oral...
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