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How to protect your sweet tooth this festive season

Dr. Priti Bagul, whose daughter Anoushka studies in class 5 of Apeejay Nerul, shares valuable dental care tips so that you can enjoy the festivities to the fullest.

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 Dr. Priti Bagul

Dr. Priti, cosmetic dentist, graduated from the prestigious Government Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai in 2005. Since then she has been in private practice. Her husband, Dr. Vijay Waman Bagul, is an Orthodontist, a dentist trained to diagnose, prevent, and treat teeth and jaw irregularities. In an interview, Dr. Priti explains how prioritising oral hygiene can prevent tooth decay.

What’s the most common dental issue faced by teens?

There is a major prevalence of cavities, also known as caries or tooth decay, amongst teenagers. Frequent consumption of fast food, sweets and sugary drinks is the prime cause. Left untreated, cavities can cause infections, pain, and ultimately, tooth loss.

The festive season is upon us. Tell us how children can gorge on delicious treats while protecting their teeth.

We should give more emphasis to our traditional sweets, especially homemade ones, as they are healthier than commercially prepared sweets and desserts. Still, after eating anything sugary you should immediately rinse your mouth and if that is not possible, take a sip of water and keep it in your mouth for a few seconds before gulping it. For small kids, the parents can give them a block of cheese as it raises the pH level in the mouth. Also, cheese contains calcium, protein and nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.

What’s the ideal time to eat sweets? Is it before the meal or one can have them any time during the day?

The first and foremost rule one has to keep in mind is that don’t consume sweets at regular intervals. If you want to binge on sweets, do it once during the day. For example, if you eat 5 pieces of sweets in a day, it’s better to have them at once rather than eating them through the course of the day. Importantly, don’t forget to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after your binge-eating session is over.

Is fluoride toothpaste safe for children?

Fluoride toothpaste is safe for older children with fully developed spit and swallow reflexes. Children who are younger than three years of age should not use fluoride toothpaste. The amount of fluoride in the toothpaste can be found on the side of the tube and is measured in parts per million (ppm). Kids between 3-6 years of age should use toothpastes which have fluoride content up to 500 ppm. After 6, a child just like adults, can use any toothpaste containing 1,000ppm fluoride.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Brushing and flossing are the best ways to keep your teeth bright and healthy. Still, if you think your smile is lacking some sparkle teeth, whitening is a good option. However, patients with teeth sensitivity shouldn’t go for whitening.

Talking about flossing, Indians generally don’t give it much importance.  

Yes, it’s true. Even with brushing, you could clean only 80% of your mouth. Flossing is an essential part of any oral health care routine. It is probably your single most important weapon against plaque and that’s why you should floss at least once a day. A common misconception people have about flossing is that it causes gaps between your teeth.  The dentals floss is made with a coating of wax that helps it slide easily between teeth without shredding, fraying or tearing.

Can your dental health affect the rest of your body?

Yes. The mouth is the gateway to the whole body and bacteria from the teeth and gums can affect your overall health in more ways than one. For example, the bacteria from inflammation caused by harmful gum diseases can enter the bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart. They could then block the arteries which could lead to heart attack or stroke. That’ why, regular dental check-ups are so crucial.  

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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