Poor dental health can even lead to heart problems

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Conditions such as dental caries are on the rise among school going children

New Delhi, 27th April 2018: Dental diseases are a significant public health burden in India, with dental caries affecting 60% to 65% and periodontal diseases affecting an estimated 50% to 90% of the general population. It is highly prevalent among school children today largely due to consumption of junk food. There is need to create awareness about the condition and avoiding excessive consumption of sucrose in any form.

Dental caries is caused by the action of acids on the enamel surface. The acid is produced when sugars (mainly sucrose) in foods or drinks react with bacteria present in the dental biofilm (plaque) on the tooth surface. The acid produced leads to a loss of calcium and phosphate from the enamel; this process is called demineralization.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India, said, “Indians are often highly ignorant of the importance of maintaining oral hygiene. Poor dental health can lead to many associated health complications including heart diseases. Children today are highly prone to conditions such as dental caries due to their unhealthy eating patterns. Foods with empty calories such as biscuits, chocolates, and other processed items are high in both sugar and salt. This can cause oral health problems and eventually decaying of teeth and gum problems at a very tender age.”

Bacteria in the mouth produce waste products (or acids) which are strong enough to form tiny holes—the first stage of dental caries. Provided corrective action is taken at the right time, the acid penetrates the tooth and destroys it inside out.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the President of 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela , said, “Parents must inculcate healthy habits in children right at the outset. They can become role models for them by practicing certain lifestyle changes including avoiding junk and processed food.

Here are some tips to take care of your teeth and prevent tooth decay.

  • Brushing helps in preventing the build-up of plaque and bacteria which can cause tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
  • Floss every day as this helps clean the crevices where the brush can’t reach.
  • Avoid sugary and starchy foods as sugar in such foods reacts with the bacteria in saliva to form an acid that erodes the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay.
  • The tongue too harbors bacteria. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a tongue scraper and clean it each time you brush your teeth.
  • Consult a dentist if your gums are inflamed or if they bleed. Do not ignore any pain in the teeth and/or gums.
  • Get your teeth checked every six months. Dental cleaning and check-up twice a year is imperative.

Children with the following risk factors should be referred for early dental evaluation

  • Mother/primary caregiver with active cavities
  • Parent/caregiver with low socioeconomic status
  • Prolonged breastfeeding or bottle-feeding (>12 months)
  • Frequent consumption of sugary beverages and snacks
  • Use of a bottle at bed time, especially with sweetened beverages
  • Use of liquid medication for longer than three weeks
  • Exposure to passive tobacco smoke
  • Children with special health care needs
  • Insufficient fluoride exposure
  • Visible plaque on upper front teeth
  • Enamel pits or defects

Mandatory public health CMEs Dr KK Aggarwal, 27 April 2018

Health Care Comments Off

Recently, the government of India has proposed mandatory MDR TB centers in all medical colleges. Why focus only on MDR TB? Ideally all colleges should have a mandatory Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which also incorporates MDR TB.

Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General ICMR has also said that every medical college should have a tobacco cessation clinic along the same lines. I will again go a step further “why only a tobacco cessation clinic and why not a substance abuse clinic’ in every college?

Every Medical College should also have a separate Department for national health programs, which should look after exposure and training of students in all National Health programs during MBBS. Education about the National Health programs should not be limited just to Community Medicine. All those who have passed their MBBS examination, should be given a mandatory one hour video CME on National Health programs and new government health policies.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri AwardeeVice President CMAAOGroup Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA