Be Wary Of Flaunting That Big Smile
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22 September 2010
By Shailvee Sharda
A study shows over 60% Lucknowites don’t brush teeth properly, while 48% find oral hygiene unnecessary
‘Muskuraiye ke aap Lucknow main hain’ may be the catchline many residents use to welcome the guests in the city of nawabs.
According to a study conducted on oral health in the city, 61% respondents said they rely on simple mouth rinsing for maintaining oral hygiene, while 48% people said they find oral hygiene unnecessary.
The study, conducted by the dentists of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU), also revealed that over 81% of the respondents had at least one dental myth.
The study examined the prevalence of dental myths, oral hygiene methods and tobacco habits in north Indian populace.
Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to live inside the mouth causing cavities and gingivitis which lead to gum diseases and eventual loss of teeth.
A total of 681 respondents covered in the study hailed from suburban areas of Lucknow.
Dr Saumendra V Singh, who conducted the study, said, "Now that it has been established that poor oral hygiene increases the risk of heart diseases, it’s time for Lucknowites to wake up."
Clinical studies show a direct link between poor oral hygiene and serious systemic diseases like bacterial pneumonia, low birth weight, extreme high birth weight, diabetic complications and even osteoporosis besides cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke.
Talking in detail, Dr Singh said that respondents used ‘datoon’ or tree twigs to clean their teeth. "But this is a bad way of maintaining oral hygiene. Though this is better than mouth rinsing or finger brushing, it may cause gingival trauma," he said.
Citing another study, he said that in urban areas, people rarely brush their teeth twice. It has been proved that simple brushing using nonmedicated toothpaste helps in 69% reduction of caries where germs live.
"Hardly one in three persons has the habit of brushing his teeth before going to bed," he said. Others who assisted in the study – Arvind Tripathi, Zafar Akhbar, Suresh Chandra and Anurag Tripathi – said that common dental myths in decreasing order of prevalence are: tooth loss was a natural outcome of aging (59%), tobacco consumption prevents caries (57%), dental diseases are solely curable by medicines (56%), professional dental cleaning causes loosening of teeth (47%) and extraction of teeth leads of weakening of eyes (27%).
"It is not that such myths are not prevalent among the city–folks. Though we have not studied this scientifically, a lot of educated persons also believe that professional dental cleaning causes loosening of teeth. Many patients have reservations over extraction of teeth for they fear that this would weaken their eye sight," said Dr Arvind Tripathi, an ex–Georgian working as a senior faculty at a private dental college.