Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 30, Tuesday February 1, 2005






Dental wise

DR. Mahfujul Haq Khan BDS, DDS, FSDCE (USA), PhD (Japan), Post Doc. (Japan) Specialised: Crown and Bridge work, and Periodontal plastic surgery (USA) Senior Medical Officer, Department of Dentistry, BIRDEM Hospital.

Q. Hello, this is Sushmita from Kolkata, I am 15 years old. We love to read Mr. Mahfuj Anam's newspaper (Daily star) through Internet. Recently we had a great chance to see him in Tara TV. My special thanks to Mr. Anam for including Life style features. Now here is my question to Dr Khan.
Dear Dr. Khan, me and my friends love to read your articles about dental health. Will you tell us how to keep our teeth healthy? "Braces", how popular in Bangladesh?
Thank you
Sushmita, Kolkata

A. Thanks for your nice compliments.
Tips for Good Dental Health
You wake up every morning and brush your teeth as part of your daily ritual, and probably don't think about your teeth again until bedtime. Yet, good oral health takes a little more effort than just brushing twice a day (don't worry it's not painful).

Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet
Good oral health begins with a well-balanced diet. When you eat, food comes into contact with the plaque in your mouth. Much like most of us, plaque loves sugar and starches. The plaque uses the sugar and starch to produce acids that can destroy the hard surface of your tooth. The more often you eat these foods and the longer they stay in your mouth, the more likely the damage.

You should eat a variety of foods to maintain a well-balanced diet. Select items from each of the foods groups for your meals (breads, fruits, vegetables, meat and milk).
Limiting between meal snacks will also help improve your oral health. Food that is eaten as part of a meal is less likely to cause harm to your teeth. During a meal, more saliva is released, which helps to reduce the effects of acid. If you do need a snack, choose foods such as raw vegetables, yoghurt or fruit.

Establish a Daily Oral Care Routine
As part of your oral care routine, you should brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, use interdental brush and cleanse your mouth with a mouth rinse. You should also select toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps to protect teeth from decay.

Make sure to thoroughly brush your teeth, taking between three and four minutes to remove food particles and plaque. Begin brushing at the back of one side of your mouth. First, place your toothbrush so the bristles are touching the gum line and slightly tilt the toothbrush so the bristles can roll over and under the gum. Gently clean the gums with several strokes. Then, roll the brush bristles towards the edge of the tooth.

Next, brush the front of each tooth. Then clean the inside of your teeth and the biting surfaces of your teeth. Finally, brush your tongue.

After brushing, flossing and using interdental brush , use an anti-plaque mouth rinse to wash away food particles, reduce plaque and prolong fresh breath.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly
You should visit your dentist's office every six months for a check-up. During these visits, your dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and treat those that do occur.

Dental health tips for pregnant women.
-- Good dental health can reduce your risk of having a premature baby.
-- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
-- Flossing and using interdental brush once a day.
-- Eat healthy foods and see your dentist.
-- If you have good dental habits, your child will too.

Important dental health tips for infants.
-- After each feeding, wipe baby's gums with a soft cloth.
-- Put only water in baby's bottle (especially at bedtime).
-- Soothe teething pain by gently rubbing baby's gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon or wet gauze.

Important dental health tips for children.
-- Brush your child's teeth with a soft infant/child sized toothbrush as soon as the first tooth appears.
-- Floss your child's teeth as soon as any two teeth touch.
-- Put only water in your child's sippy cup.
-- Make sure your child sees a dentist by their first birthday.

Practising proper dental care:
Prevents tooth decay.
Prevents gum disease.
Saves money. By preventing tooth decay and gum disease, you can reduce the need for
fillings and other costly procedures.
Helps prevent bad breath.
Helps keep teeth white by preventing staining from food, drinks, and tobacco.
Improves overall health.
"Braces" its now very popular in Bangladesh

Q. Dear Dr. Mahfuj,
I heard that misalignment teeth can be cured by using a special kind of laser light in Bangladesh. Is it true? And if it is true then does it work? Does it have any side effect? Is it affordable? How long does it take for the process to be done? I would gladly appreciate it if you could answer my questions.
Mrs. Tanveera Hussein

A. Yes, it is partly true. But there is no laser light rather we call it Halogen light (Violet colour). This type of filling we usually call "light cure composite (Resin) filling" or "Bonded filling". Yes it will definitely work and it has no side effects if properly done!

A composite resin is a tooth-coloured plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide). Introduced in the 1960s, dental composites were confined to the front teeth because they were not strong enough to withstand the pressure and wear generated by the back teeth. Since then, composites have been significantly improved and can be successfully placed in the back teeth as well. Composites are not only used for restoring decay, but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the colour of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

Advantages: Aesthetics are the main advantage, since dentists can blend shades to create a colour nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.

Disadvantages: Along with the higher cost and the extra placement time, the patient can experience post-operative sensitivity. Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if the patient drinks tea, coffee or other staining foods. The dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the colour from changing if a patient is particularly concerned about tooth colour. Another drawback: composites tend to wear out sooner than silver fillings in larger cavities, al-though they hold up as well in small cavities.

Though this is relatively expensive but I think this is affordable, as it will last for 7-10 years.

Q. Dear Dr. M.H. khan,
This is maliha, age 14 years. I had dental cavities (Caries?), which already filled three years back and we know that most of the human being are suffering from dental caries. But I have two pet dogs and I found no black spot on their teeth and I never heard that they need to do Dental filling. My question is what about animal caries? Do they have milk teeth? I saw in TV that a dog was treated by a dentist. Can you tell me how can I take care of Dog's dental health? Dr. Khan, I am really curious regarding this matter.
Maliha Khan Gulshan Dhaka

A. Hello Maliha,
Nice to hear from you. It's a fact. Most dog owners never take a good look inside their dog's mouth.ÊAnd that's unfortunate because it is estimated that over 80 percent have significant oral pathology. Dogs get caries, or "cavities," much less commonly than do humans. Cavity treatment in dogs is very similar to the treatment in people. Dental disease, specifically periodontal disease (Gum disease), is the most common affecting pet dogs and cats. This is an infection of the gums and potentially the other supporting structures of the teeth. Halitosis, or bad breath, is the most common sign of oral disease. Classic "doggy breath" is not necessarily normal. The major cause of halitosis is periodontal disease (Gum Disease).

The growth pattern and structure of our teeth are very similar to those of our dogs. Soon after birth a full set of temporary or deciduous teeth are produced in the same way as children have milk teeth. Which often describe them as 'sharp needles' and their shape differs from the permanent teeth which grow through to replace them between the ages of four and six months.ÊOne of the best ways to insure optimum oral health is to provide the dog with a well-balanced, meat-based dog food.ÊÊ Brushing the dog's teeth can be a big help, too, but needs to be done almost daily.

There are some signs of dental disease in your pet that may be more subtle. Dogs may preferentially choose softer foods, play with chew toys less and decline crunchy treats. You may notice your pet chewing more on side of his mouth. He may chew less in general and this sometimes causes the dog to vomit, seen as undigested, poorly chewed food. Increased salivation, pawing at or rubbing the face can be indications of oral pain.

For more information visit Dr Khan's website www.aikodental.com

By The Way

A few tips for cleaning eyeglasses

Cleaning eyeglasses is not something that people pay attention to, which is why they lack the proper know how and often end up with scratchy lenses. Here are a few tips on how to do it right. Always rinse off your lenses with water before wiping or cleaning. Even tiny particles can be scratchy when rubbed across the lens surface.

Clean your lenses by using eyeglass spray made especially for eyeglass lenses or just warm water. Gently cleanse the lens surface and rinse off. Never use other chemicals like soap or detergent or any other remover.

Always use a soft, clean cloth to wipe the lens surface after rinsing or cleaning. A 100% cotton cloth is best. Never use worn clothing that may have embedded dirt.

Never lay your glasses face down. Keeping the lens surface face up prevents them from coming in contact with things that can scratch the lenses.

Store your eyeglasses in their case when you are not using them. It keeps dust and particles off and prevents them from being inadvertently crushed or damaged if something falls or gets dropped on them.





If there is one thing Bush and Kerry and Edward and Cheney can agree on at this very moment, it would be that…it's way too cold here in Washington DC. Seriously the mercury has been dropping without any sign of ever rising since earlier this week. I was never a fan of the winter and currently I want to go into hibernation until the first leaf of spring spreads its green. I have been stocking up on food, piling up comforters and keeping all the little necessities handy; I just don't want to step out. The world can wait. No matter how Americanized I have become I still am a freaking FOB when it comes to winter here.

It's not that I never tried to love American winters. I tried. I did my fair share of running around in the snow, building fat snowmen and having snowball fights. I did, I sure did. I was younger then, and confused, I wasn't sure of my likes and dislikes and I just wanted to belong, plus I would be marked as the abnormal child if I didn't get excited about these kind of irrationalities. Then the day came, in the middle of a snowy afternoon, walking back from school when I slipped and fell on my behind for the 100th time and I had a flashback of Dhaka's winter. The sweet chills in January mornings in Dhaka which can be easily conquered with a Kashmiri shawl, a cup of hot tea and the morning sun's sharp yet subtle warmth… that's how winter should be, mild and tasteful, fashionable and uplifting, winter should not be consumed with sharp shooting pains due to slipping on ice, it should not be bringing depression and fifteen extra pounds to overcome the blues, and it should not require us to cover our precious bodies with layers and layers of wool…no it should not..

To make things unbearable and just to mock the whole anti-cold movement of mine, Eid is smack in the middle of a snowy day. How are we Bengali women supposed to wear our chiffon and silks, showing the bare part of our worked out stomach and a few winter pounds…
just how? Saris are so not winter friendly and winter is so not culture friendly, American winter is nothing but a bigoted, stubborn selfish racist. No wonder most of America is half-naked during the summer months. After living like walking blankets for months, who wouldn't want their bodies to breathe?

In this Eid, with white snow covering the ground, I feel sorry for the devout Muslims who physically went to the farm to sacrifice animals with their own pure hands; the quarbanis surely were extra horrific scenes which I don't even want to describe in any kind of detail.

And if you are hosting a party this January with freezing temperature outside, beware. Your guests will arrive early to beat the night's cold and will leave late from your cozy heated home, you will work extra hard, clean up for longer hours and the frozen sculpture of a welcoming smile will have to be plastered to your face. Accept it. This is not the season for anything friendly… this is the time to be a loner and stay in your holes.

In addition this frosty weather is not only ruining our eastern style parties it has also put dents on the smiles of Republican wives. Their chic, expensive dresses, bought to wear at the inauguration balls were covered with shawls and long coats. How disappointing. Not only did they spend a fortune on the dresses they also had to make sure to spend another extra chunk on the accessories that became a necessity. Winter is so not becoming...

But of course there are still some strange creatures around, who still love the winter, still love sweaters and enjoy watching snow… I can't relate to them. They are people who look forward to dreary dry cold nights, those who think winter clothes are more fashionable than summer, I don't speak their lingo, I don't comprehend them. To me their brains have been frozen to an alarming extent, and there is no coming back.

So the next time you watch some English classic with fake romantic snow falling gracefully creating some fuzzy emotion, don't wish you were there. The snow you see in the movie screen is fake and the actors are acting therefore just pretending to be enjoying the phony cold weather. It's all a hoax, believe it before you too are out here freezing your toots off. Then don't come running to me, I have already told you so.

By Iffat Nawaz


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2003 The Daily Star