Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 11, Tuesday August 12, 2003







Dental wise

Dr, Mahfujul Haq Khan BDS, DDS(Dhaka), PhD(Japan) Oral & Dental Surgeon Birdem Hospital

Q. My daughter got the habit of thumb sucking when she was 6 months old. Now she is 5 years old. We fail to stop her habit. When and how we can stop her doing this?

A.Children should have ceased thumbsucking by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Usually, children stop between the ages of two and five years. Sucking often gradually lessens during this period as children spend more of their waking hours exploring their surroundings. Can you make her busy with other activities? But never pressure her!

Q. Can a child lose a primary tooth too early? What will happen in case of early lose?

A.Sometimes a primary tooth is lost before the permanent tooth beneath it is ready to erupt. If the primary teeth are lost too early, nearby teeth can tip or move into the vacant space. When the permanent teeth are ready to come into the mouth, there may not be enough room. As a result, teeth may erupt out of their proper positions, leading to malocclusion. To avoid such future problems, your dentist may recommend using a space maintainer to reserve space for the permanent tooth.

Q. I am using an artificial denture for a long time but now a days its becoming discolor and I found some foul smell from it. How can I care/clean my denture?

A. I think you should replace by a new denture as it already discolored . This bad smell is probably due to failure to clean properly.

Care for artificial teeth/denture;
Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped even a few inches. Stand over a folded towel or a basin of water when handling dentures. When you are not wearing them, store your dentures away from children and pets. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing helps prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and helps your mouth stay healthy. It's best to use a brush designed for cleaning dentures. A toothbrush with soft bristles can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes that can damage dentures. Some denture wearers use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid, which are both acceptable for cleaning dentures. Avoid using other powdered household cleansers, which may be too abrasive. The first step in cleaning dentures is to rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Moisten the brush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage. Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.

Q. My mother, age 70 years has no teeth and she was advised to use complete denture. But we are thinking whether this artificial teeth make her look different? Will she able to eat with her dentures properly? Will dentures change how she speak?

A.Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile.

Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures from tipping. As you become accustomed to chewing, add other foods until you return to your normal diet. Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.

Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures "click" while you're talking, speak more slowly. You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing.

Interpreter of Maladies

Dr. Nighat Ara

Q. My seven-year-old daughter has suddenly become very cranky and sensitive, she cries on any and every topic, she is otherwise a sweet person but is recently misbehaving with the household help and with others. She says that she has no friends at school which is not true because she has. But what happened is that when she was promoted to her new class, she was separated from her old friends and now she is taking some time in making new friends. In fact, from early childhood she has had the habit of clinging to things - her chair, her part of the bed, etc. - she doesn't like changes, to the extent that when her teacher got sick and a substitute teacher took their class, she made all sorts of excuses to not attend school.

Basically she hates changes and doesn't adjust to them quickly. But how should I address this? She is a happy child, however I do scold her (maybe a little too much sometimes) - is it that I expect too much from a 7 year old? Please help me understand the situation. I want her to be happy and well behaved and to do okay at schoolwork, but not by making her miserable. She is our only child and believe me her father has never scolded or tried to discipline her till now. She is the only grandchild of my parents; my mother would give her right hand for her anytime, and if I scold her its her Nanu that she complains to and makes things go haywire. Anyway, please help.
-A Reader.

A. Regarding your problem, it appears to me that you are very concerned about your daughter and eager to be a perfect mother. This is a common stress for parents of only children. What is your plan about having another issue?

Sometimes it is easy to bring up two or three children together. I myself went through the same stress and then decided to go for another.

Children go through different stages of emotional growth. Anger, frustration and sadness are all natural human emotions, feeling and expressing the emotions are also parts of normal psychological development.

However, your daughter might be grieving the loss of her close friends and so overtly sad. In fact, children with obsessive traits (preference for sameness over change) may find a new environment quite challenging and difficult to adjust. It will hopefully get better over time as she will be exposed to newer situations in the future. This inhibition or shyness may be due to the absence of other children at home or in the neighborhood, which is a problem of modern life in Dhaka. It won't be surprising if she is feeling bored at home surrounded by grown-up people and is displacing her anger on domestic help.

Misbehavior with domestic help might also indicate her struggle for superiority/dominance, imitating someone else's behavior in the family or in response to how the domestic helpers behave with her in your absence and so on.

When you try to discipline your child, it is always wise to set some consistent rules and regulations and avoid giving her mixed messages (e.g. if your husband/mother allows her to do something that you forbid, that will definitely create confusion in her). Explain why some behavior is undesirable and make her aware of the consequences. Let her take the responsibility for her own behavior (don't always try to intercede on her behalf). Affection and punishment (scolding!) both should be balanced and shared by both the parents. At times, children act out to draw attention to something more hidden or difficult for them to express. Be compassionate and make her feel safe if she wants to share some of her inner anxieties.



Under A Different Sky

The unity unknown

With a mixed smell of cosmetics, perfume, cologne, and a beating heart stepping out of a car with pedicured toes and high heels. Checking out the vicinity to find beautiful houses, posh cars and smell of barbeque and more expensive perfumes. Walking into the party is next, so expecting the usual, few uh and ahs and couple of complicated adjectives thrown and few fake smiles with rolling eyes. The usual dinner parties of life abroad. I expected the same last weekend as I walked into a pre-party of a reunion to be held the next day of ex cadet college students from Faujjdarhat. I expected unknown faces judging, complimenting and criticizing, good food going to waste among diet consciousness, and a few typical conversations about stocks and recent movies. And it seemed so, as I walked in, the smell of perfume was there, yes, the barbequed hot dogs and chickens were, yes, but no one rolled their eyes or gave a fake smile. They did have that question mark on their faces as to who this person is who just walked in because I am a new-comer to the group but the next thing was a warm welcome, the introduction and before I knew it I was talking my brains out, what I usually do best around those who I feel comfortable. And somehow I felt like I blended in.

Why will I write about people I have met once and may never meet again? Because after a long time I forgot I was abroad when I saw the alumnus of Cadet College, in their 30s and 40s still sitting around with hands on each others shoulders, forgetting the unwritten American pasture restrictions, all dressed down and making jokes that the "Proper crowd" would dare to spell out. Somehow they have jumped across the bubble of pretentiousness and hypocrisy, I don't know about their daily lives but just for that night. No one flashed their business cards and huge jewellery wasn't slickly matched with french siphons and delicate crepe by their wives. Everyone sat untidily, sweating in the summer's humid night and laughing away, all living through past and no luxuries of presence.

I was awed by their success, their modesty and their equality. I wondered, is this the part of Bengali society that has achieved the greater goals of life crossing all lines of inscrutability? Or is it just the love for past and childhood that makes them want to go back to just as it were back then, same hair cuts and uniform, following the equal restrictions and going by equal rules, no discrimination, and no self-consciousness? Are we so taken by our past then? Do our old bodies want to be young and free and go back to those teenage years when we felt the least free and strong? Is it our memories of being weak together which gives us a strong bond? Or is it because the people around knew truly who they were before big degrees, posh cars and houses that brought this unknown unity?

I do not know any of these answers, but I do know one thing. I felt jealous. Jealous, that I was not part of something so unique. Jealous, that I couldn't feel the same way with my old buddies, as there would be insecurity and distance between us. Jealous that my past and present are so mixed up that they all seemed equally bad or good. I wanted to be a part of this, but they were far beyond practicality and me, as they lived in the past and let their past decide the behavior of their present. Like a toddler flipping through his/her parent's wedding album and feeling left out knowing how he/she will never belong in those pictures I observed and smiled stupidly without understanding at their inside jokes which were buried and dug out after years. But it still felt good to see the same smiles from years before I can prolong for this long.

I had dreamy eyes for a day, touched by such unity, it ended the day after when I joined a different local crowd attending another party, where women described how their jewelries are from Benaras and their husband's shirt's fabric is from Italy and their child's favorite toy is from Paris and they can only digest food from certain Brand name stores. I remembered again I was a Bengali abroad.

By Iffat Nawaz


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