Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 51, Tuesday August 08, 2006



Dental wise

Dear Dr. Mahfuj
I would like to thank Mr. Khaza Nazimuddin for his question about the malpractices of unqualified dental surgeons and foreign dental technicians in Bangladesh. A member of my family had been vicitmised under similar circumstances by a clinic. However, I was a bit disappointed to see that your answer was not strongly against them. I know that they do not have licenses to practice as local dental technicians or so-called foreign dental surgeons. These foreign dental surgeons are coming to Bangladesh by rotation to gather clinical experience. As I am in government service (Ministry of Health), I am aware of the regulations regarding their registration and licensing. They are required to have registration/permission issued by Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC), which they sometimes do not have.

I am sorry for not saying anything hard against them. Actually I do not have the authority to go against them. You are the right person (as you are working in the Ministry of Health) to take necessary action against the dental clinics run by unqualified local and foreign dental surgeons without valid documents.

Dear Dr. Khan,
I am 29 years old and I work in a private bank where I am required to talk to my clients extensively. However, I am uncomfortable about the shape and colour of my teeth. Can these be changed? If yes, how long will they last?
Mahin Chowdhury

Dear Ms Mahin,
Badly shaped teeth can be changed to normal by braces or crowning and the discolouration problem can be helped by scaling and polishing. To opt for teeth that are whiter, bleaching is a good option but this is not suitable for all patients so a dental surgeon must be consulted before undergoing treatment.

Dear Dr. Mahfuj
We are college students and would like some information about dental caries. How can caries be detected and prevented?
Holy Cross College

'Caries' is Latin for 'rot' or 'rotten'. Dental caries or cavity is the most common of all oral diseases and the average individual has his first experience with the disease during childhood. It is recommended that between 1.5-2 years of age, children should have their first checkup before any extensive cavities are established. Dental caries very often appear as a white and chalky area on the enamel. It later softens and then the tooth structure breaks down. If not treated in the initial stages, it progresses towards the pulp and will then require extensive treatment to save the tooth.

How Caries develop?
Bacteria are normally present in the mouth. The bacteria converts all foods, especially sugar and starch into acids. Bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque that adheres to the teeth. Plaque begins to accumulate on teeth within 20 minutes after eating (the time when most bacterial activity occurs). If this plaque is not removed thoroughly and regularly, tooth decay will not only begin, but flourish.

The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the tooth and create holes in the tooth (cavities). Cavities are usually painless until they grow very large inside the tooth and destroy the nerve and blood vessels in the tooth. If left untreated, tooth abscess can develop. Untreated tooth decay also destroys the internal structures of the tooth (pulp) and ultimately causes the loss of the tooth.

Destroyed teeth structures do not regenerate. However, the progression of cavities can be stopped by treatment. The goal is to preserve the tooth and prevent complications. In filling teeth, the decayed material is removed (by drilling) and replaced with a restorative material such as silver alloy, porcelain, or composite resin, inlay and onlay crowns (cap) are used if decay is extensive and there is limited tooth structure. A root canal is recommended if the nerves in a tooth die from decay.

Oral hygiene is necessary to prevent cavities. This consists of regular professional cleaning (every 6 months), brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least daily. X-rays may be taken yearly to detect possible cavity development in high risk areas of the mouth.

Sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy) are best if eaten as part of a meal rather than as a snack. If possible, brush the teeth or rinse the mouth with water after eating these foods. Dental sealants can prevent cavities. Sealants are thin plastic-like coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This coating prevents the accumulation of plaque in the deep grooves on these vulnerable surfaces. Sealants are usually applied on the teeth of children, shortly after the molars erupt. Older people may also benefit from the use of tooth sealants.

Fluoride is often recommended to protect against dental caries. Topical fluoride is also recommended to protect the surface of the teeth. This may include a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash. Many dentists include application of topical fluoride solutions (applied to a localized area of the teeth) as part of routine visits.

Parlour Wises

Secrets of health, beauty and relaxation

Nowadays we hear the word 'Spa'. Actually 'Spa' is the millennium buzzword for health, beauty and relaxation. In broader terms, the image of a Spa has developed to meet the prevailing mood for a holistic approach to life. In today's era of mindfulness, the pursuit of vanity and pampering is happily fused with a desire for inner health. Today, Spas set out to offer some solutions for those who want to look good, feel good and rejuvenate their bodies as well as their souls.

The 'Spa' concept which although has existed since Roman times, was only formalized in 17th century Europe out of an understanding for the curative powers of water. The spa, such as the eponymous resort in Belgium or the historical Baden-Baden in Germany originated as a clinical get-well center for curing all manner of diseases from arthritis to infertility. Rigorous routines in often less than indulgent locations, involved drinking or bathing in the spring-fed spa waters or walking barefoot in the winter dew at dawn.

This world wide vogue for spiritual and mental as well as physical, fitness has been the core of Asian beauty custom since the beginning of time. Lasting beauty comes from deep within the body and mind; how we feel about ourselves and the world around us directly affects our facial expression and outward appearance. Modern mind and body science has now shown that when we are relaxed and happy, the biochemical rhythms in our bodies are significantly different to those present when we are angry, tense or sad.

According to the beliefs of the Harmony Spa, outer beauty involves a ritualistic process using natural products for skin, hair, and body. This is balanced by a number of inner beauty techniques, which include taking balanced food, a spiritual form of exercise (that unleashes inner power to maintain purity); fasting; and making more frequent, selfless giving gestures in our lives.

Harmony believes proper balance amongst the body, mind and soul will create lasting beauty. The Chief Executive and Spa Therapist of Harmony Spa explains that they provide services and ambience to their clients to feel relaxed and happy. And, they provide beauty treatments to look good, feel good and rejuvenate the body of their clients.

By Rahima Sultana Reeta
Skin therapist Harmony

By the way

Love your chair but a loose leg is getting in the way. You can easily secure a loose chair leg by wrapping the loose end with a small strip of nylon hose or thread, apply glue, then reinsert.

Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz


So we knew it since we were young. How? I don't know. We just did. Maybe it's one of those things our Bengali genes let us know early on. And we start using it as we grow older for our benefits and sometimes loses, without knowing.

It's what Bengali women are famous for. Not our height, not our figures or the shape of our feet or nose or lips, but our eyes. Our dark dark eyes and matching dark lashes with matching pretty eye brows. Lined with kajol or unlined, they are for us, assets. Assets we use and abuse, to get attention, to communicate, lest to see the world but more for the world to see us. Often our mouths don't say as much as our eyes do.

Not sure when it started. When it was that our eyes started communicating so prominently.

Was it through our semi-strict upbringing? When even in the 80s a girl and a boy being strangers couldn't really talk to each other freely out in the open, and the desperate school boy eyes following us with astounding admirations taught us how to communicate back to them through our close to perfect eyes. The silent crushes of ours taught our eyes how to play games, how to express love, or disinterest or even hate.

Or was it through those stretched days at school when the teacher went on lecturing longer than her time and we the obedient students pretended to listen while the whole time talking to a friend on the other side of the class room completely through our eyes, jokes were told, stories were made, we both knew what we meant, and we laughed and mocked, all in silence through our eyes.

Or was it when we observed our parents, never uttering the words “I love you” to each other, but giving each other more meaningful looks that all loves desire around the world.

Or was it when a hug wasn't given, a compliment or praise wasn't provided, when love wasn't available through words, but eyes of our parents gave all of that and more, pride, joy and care, unconditionally through their eyes.

As Bengalis we already have very animated body language, our hands move when we talk, our heads, our shoulders, our whole face dances with our expressions.

We Bengalis are not known for our expressions: the average me and you were never good at saying meaningful words; at communicating clearly; our inside is usually oppressed, our emotions our expressions ones, especially the positive expressions than the negatives.

To compensate our eyes give more, for those who are watching, paying attention they can read the world and fill up their souls with all the unspoken words that are inside of us, words we perhaps don't even know existed in our own vocabulary.

In this western land of elongated mascaraed eyes and blue and green pupils our blacks are always mysterious. Our eyes often betraying our heart go off in their own frenzy to show off, we seek, we seek, we seek…What? Perhaps all the unexpressed, unpronounced words, and the people who can understand…


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