Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 6, Issue 05, Tuesday, February 01, 2011



Dental wise

DR. Mahfujul Haq Khan

Bad breath
Bad breath (halitosis) can cause embarrassment, create social and psychological barriers, and even affect marriages. Causes of “bad breath” originating from oral regions are found in 60-70 percent of the cases, whereas the rest comes from other systemic problems.

The odour is caused by bacteria from the decay of food particles, other debris in the mouth, and poor oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulphur compound that causes the unpleasant odour.

If a person has healthy teeth and gums (i.e. no cavities or decay, periodontitis or gum disease, or abscesses or pus), the next most common source of oral malodour is the tongue.

Bacteria which produce volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs are found on the tongue surface, especially the posterior one third. These bacteria can be found on the surface of the tongue, throat, teeth, and periodontal pockets in the gums.

Some systemic conditions that may cause bad breath:

While the oral cavity is by far the most common source of bad breath, systemic conditions can also be responsible for this condition.

Other reasons for bad breath (other than the mouth) are:

Infections, especially in the sinuses or lungs.

Diabetes mellitus (acetone smell to the breath).

Kidney failure (can produce a fishy odour).

Malfunction of the liver.

Disorders of metabolism (foul, fishy odour that comes and goes and may be difficult to diagnose).

Indigestion .
Fasting (when the body is not provided with fuel in the form of food, fat and protein begins to break down; the result is bad odour from the waste products of this metabolism).

Nasal and sinus problems, including foreign bodies inserted in the nose and neglected for a period of time, can be a cause. Repetitive tonsillar infections, infections of the oropharynx, pulmonary diseases (such as bronchitis and pneumonia), and gastrointestinal problems are all possible contributing factors.

Very spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, and coffee may be detected on a person's breath for up to 72 hours after digestion. Onions, for example, are absorbed by the stomach and the odour is then excreted through the lungs.

Tips to get fresh breath
Brush and floss your teeth properly

At least 2 minutes of brushing is necessary to properly clean all tooth surfaces. In addition, it is not possible to clean up to 30 percent of the surfaces of our teeth with a brush. This makes flossing/interdental brushing absolutely critical!

Use bad breath relief products
By using halitosis toothpaste, non-alcoholic sulphur reducing mouth rinses, sugar free chewing gum and breath mints.

Clean your tongue
Bacteria thrive in the fissures and mucous layers of the tongue, sometimes creating a visible whitish layer. Tongue cleaners can remove this layer and much of the bacteria, which reside on your tongue.

A tongue scraper can be very helpful as well. When using a tongue scraper, it is best to clean as far back on the tongue as possible, starting from the back and moving toward the front. This scraping motion is done several times in a row.

Drink plenty of water
Keeping hydrated allows proper salivary flow to help rinse and flush out unwanted bacteria.

Use mouthwashes
Effective oral rinses must eliminate the problematic bacteria while maintaining the balance of normal bacteria in the oral environment. A majority of mouth rinses contain alcohol, which actually dries out the mouth and can end up contributing to halitosis.

Chew sugarless gum
Chewing stimulates our glands to produce extra volume of saliva and aids in cleaning out noxious bacteria.

Check for signs of gingivitis and other dental problems
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and ligaments, which support the teeth. This leads to bone loss and deep pockets between the teeth and gums, which are not easily cleanable. Extremely high amounts of bacteria can live in these pockets and need aggressive cleaning therapies to reduce bad breath. Signs of periodontitis include red or swollen gums, loose teeth, bleeding gums, pus, and pain on chewing.

Get regular dental check-ups
Twice yearly dental check-ups are a good idea for all adults. This is because people often do not become aware of dental problems until considerable damage has occurred. A dentist can recognise potentially damaging problems early. In addition, the dentist can diagnose other problems, which cause bad breath including abscesses, periodontal disease, cavities, and impacted teeth.


17 years

By Iffat Nawaz

"I cannot let go!” As I said these words the tears started streaming down my cheeks.

“It is alright, it will go away one day, the process has already started, you recognised it,” a supporting shoulder came close, a professional voice uttered the sentence giving assurance.

“I don't want it to go away, I want to carry it with me, it's all I have of him!” my tears had reached my collar bone by now and a new set formed in the corners of my eyes, then poured out with full force.

I sat down with a few friends next, “It's been 17 years,” they sighed with me. They didn't know my father. I have lived a longer life without my father than I have with him by now. Almost everyone I am close to and deal with daily has never met the man who initiated my birth.

He remains, the man who left 17 years ago, he remains in my throat. I carry him in my heart but most of the time he likes to crawl up into a ball and rest in my vocal chord and often he comes out with a silent cry, a few tears, ready always to scream, powerful even without sound.

Torn in the middle is something I struggle with. They say displacement is something I have accepted. I don't justify my reasons or contradictions, my subconscious thoughts and actions with my conscious mind. I say, I live, I say I want to keep living in this skin that has finally become the most comfortable to live in. I say I have problems letting go; of abandonment, of commitment, of loved and lost ones. I say I carry him with me in my throat, so that he can speak out when I can't, so that he can scold and mold me with his words through my voice.

I am in a city now near a bay; the first world shines like diamonds all around me. I was here last with him 17 years ago, two weeks before he passed away. It was a typical touristy visit; shopping and food, but in between we had stopped at a temple. It was red and we took photos and then with uncovered heads we prayed, disregarding the priest's disapproving looks.

I am here again not to find that temple but I have a feeling I will. I have a feeling I will sit there with my uncovered head again and pray for nothing and the world. I have a feeling he will crawl up my throat causing a sharp pain which will then cause extra beats in my heart, my palms will sweat and my eyes will water and I will try to picture him with my eyes open. I have a feeling I am going to cry in a temple that is no one's; not mine, nor his, but of broken memories. I have a feeling I will try to find balance in my chaos and a new meaning of healing.

17 years might be a long time. A prime number, mourning that has turned into an angry teen. I just know I wont let go - I can't. The ball that hugs my throat, that needs catharsis also is a proof of existence of my birth, my life and my end. Come hear it in my every sigh, my every laugh, my every scream. I carry immortality in my vocal chord, between shouts and silence, come hear it roar and conquer, forget 17 years.


Knowledge speaks


Ages and stages -- individual differences
Developmental milestones give a general idea about what to expect from children of different ages. However, there will always be differences between individual children. Some begin to walk at 10 months, some at 15 months. Some toddle along quickly and smoothly, getting the "hang of it" right away. Others fall down a lot, hesitate, or even give up for a few days.

Some children will start to talk very early, others may disappoint their parents. Some will always be quiet people. Some abilities become clear in one child, but may never be very strong in another.

Recognise the individual in the child and look for differences based on the following:

Sense of security
Some children need more consistency, more reassurance and more confidence-boosting. Insecurity sometimes can cause a child to withdraw or behave aggressively.

Activity level
Some need more active play than others. They need the opportunity to move around, jump, run, and bounce many times throughout the day. Other children need more peaceful environments or more rest.

Response to stimulation
Children are inherently different in their tolerance to noise, activity, visual stimulation, or changes in the environment. An environment that is sensitive to this need in children will provide interesting activities for some but not for all.

Thinking style
Some children think quietly through possible solutions to a problem; others push in and try the first idea that occurs to them. Some children are interested in experimenting to find out how objects work; others choose to ask friends or adults for help.

Dear parents and teachers, developmental guidelines should be used as a general rule of thumb. In your work with children, do not confuse earlier or faster development with better development.

Early talking by a one-year-old does not mean that the child will be a chatterbox or a brilliant conversationalist at age 10. If the child begins to talk later than usual, it may mean that the toddler is putting more energy into physical growth and motor exploration than attempting to speak.

Development or the lack of it that falls outside the normal range may indicate a problem that requires attention. Parents should recognise the possible problems and special needs, such as poor vision or hearing. Teachers and parents should together find out the best solution of addressing the real concern by consulting with professionals.

Watch the development of each child closely. Be there always.


For the little one

A baby is the most enchanting, beautiful and precious gift, who is embraced by the whole family with lots of enthusiasm. Welcoming a newborn into the world is a special event that calls for celebration.

To share in the happiness of having a new life in the world and express heartfelt congratulations to the parents, people often send gifts for the baby. While wondering what to buy for a baby, we strive to be able to give something unique, innovative, useful and not to forget, entertaining for the child. Moreover, while buying presents for an infant, most people make sure that it will be useful for the parents in raising their child.

Some five years back, most gifts for infants comprised of gold jewellery, maybe a small pendant or a short chain, that expressed their desire to accosting the child in a grand manner. But with the recent extravagant increase in the price of gold, it has gone far out of the reach of the general middle class in Bangladesh. Hence the focus has extensively shifted from gold items to other gifts that are equally lavish.

The most common gifts for a newborn baby comprises of clothing gift sets, with at least one blue dress for a baby boy, or a pink dress for a baby girl, and can be found within a price range of Tk500-3000.You can also go for a utilities gift set for the baby, comprising of bottles, bibs, pacifiers, teethers, within a price range of Tk800-3000.

Gifting an adorable and attractive bath or shower set would be a great idea too. If you want, you can also include a cute bathtub along with it. Shower sets range from Tk500-2000 and bathtubs from Tk1000-5000.You can also gift baby care products. The list will include items such as baby towels, bodysuits, soap, shampoo, hair oil, body oil, moisturiser, powder and sleepers. They all come in nicely packed sets ranging from Tk1000-5000.

Another option would comprise of a sleeping set that includes a cute pillow, blanket, soft bed sheet and small soft toy. You can get them within Tk1000-5000.You can also get a feeder set for the baby, including bottle, cleaning brush, nipples, cleaning gel and thermos flask. These are widely available in markets within a range of Tk800-1500.

Cute knitted sweaters, hats and socks that look adorable on babies, will be another option for infant gifts. Make sure to choose soft and easy-to-wash fabrics. Such sets will range from Tk 500-2000.You can also give items that can be used for decorating the room of the baby, like hanging stars, wall decorations, soft toys or things that can be hung from a crib above the baby's cot. These items can be found within a broad price range of Tk200-5000.

Another great idea will be combining assorted items for the baby, in one cute basket. You might include baby bottles, clothes, toys, bathing products, blanket and diapers in it. Such assorted baskets are already available in ready-made form. You can avail them from shops like Mother Care and Mother & Baby.

An assortment of cartoon character toys, like Mickey Mouse, Little Mermaid and Winnie the Pooh, in a basket can also be given as present to a newborn baby. These cartoon characters are widely available at Archies and Hallmark shops. Prices vary according to size. You can also gift specially designed musical CDs and cassettes that help a newborn baby fall asleep. You can add a personal touch by customising it in your own way.

By Afrida Mahbub


The fading art

Whether seen as a hobby or a necessity, the art of sewing has almost lost its ground as a popular pass time. Now we seldom get to see mothers sewing tiny clothes for their babies, or grandmothers sewing pretty dresses to give to their grand daughters as birthday presents. With boutiques mushrooming all around the city, the habit of sewing is no longer a necessity, as desirable cuts and designs are so readily available at every street corner.

The need to know how to sew for mending purposes or replacing a button used to be a necessity for many people. The art of sewing was also passed on from generation to generation as a tradition, when mothers would teach their daughters how to embroider. But that tradition has long lost its value, as people now do not have the time to spend on such activities when they can get it done from the nearby tailor.

The few blessed ones who still carry this bestowed knowledge from their previous generations turned it into a business, opening up boutiques and mass producing their designs through machines, giving up their long held heritage of sewing clothes with their own hands.

But there are still some people left today who take sewing more as a hobby than as a requirement, and genuinely love making clothes themselves. Using the sewing machine or sewing by hand can be a relaxing time for those who find enjoyment in doing this.

They really enjoy creating patterns and making different types of clothes for children alongside adults. One such person is Shakila Zaman, who is still continuing with this tradition of sewing clothes. She learnt this art from her grandmother when she was of about ten years old and has continued to sew since then.

She is a full time housewife, and after finishing her daily chores, she usually has some time left to herself which she dedicates to her passion of sewing clothes, usually for her grand daughters. She never felt the need or the drive to turn her talent into a boutique business and was always peacefully happy with just keeping it to herself. “Sewing for personal pleasure will no longer be there in the next ten years as I see it. I myself as a mother have not passed on this knowledge to my daughters and the same will repeat for my grand daughters as well. So as the chain moves on, this habit will slowly fade away with time.”

Nowadays we seldom get to see hand stitched designs on clothes. With machine work dominating every aspect of clothing designs, hand stitched work is indeed a hard find and can only be seen in a few exclusive boutiques of the city.

Stitching quilts was another thing that used to be a favourite pass time for many a woman who were taught how to do so by their mothers and grandmothers.

Many of them handed the skills down to their own children and grandchildren. The pride of being able to make a quilt or an outfit is something not everyone can do. There is nothing quite like being able to curl up with a beautiful hand-made quilt that was made by your mother or grandmother. Not only are they some of the most lovely quilts you will ever see, but they have a personal touch to them as well.

Of course, there are people who find someone else to do these things and they do not have to learn how to do them. If you have a small seam unraveled from a shirt, do you know how to repair it so you can still wear the shirt? This may be a simple task for many, but for others they may have no idea of how to fix this problem.

For those who did not grow up with mothers and grandmothers that knew how to sew, there is still hope. You can learn how to fix that seam or put the button back on a shirt. All it takes is a little effort.

By Afrida Mahbub


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