What is the special care that seniors must take for their teeth? Can one visit a dentist in these Covid times? What can one do for bad breath? These and many more questions were answered by Dr Chintamani Pant on Saturday, July 11 as part of the Health Live @ Seniors Today series
On Saturday, July 11, Health Live @ Seniors Today hosted leading dental surgeon Dr Chintamani Pant to speak with readers on issues concerning dental care for senior citizens.
Dr Pant is a leading dental surgeon practising in Mumbai and is one of the few dentists using a hard and soft tissue laser machine. He is a graduate from the Dr DY Patil Dental and Medical College, with a master’s degree from Sydney, Australia. Dr Pant has also done oral implantology advanced surgical courses from India, Portugal, Korea, Germany and is trained in laser dentistry from biolase in Australia.
Here are the takeaways from the Health Live @ Seniors Today Webinar
- Telehealth for dental care is a no – It is not possible to opt for telehealth when it comes to dental problems. You will have to visit a dentist to get your oral health checked as all the technologies and the machineries used for dental treatment will be available at the dental unit.
- Factors that affect gum health – Gum holds tooth and bone together hence it is essential to keep the gum healthy. It deteriorates as you age depending and due to factors, such as lack of oral hygiene, wear and tear of jaws, habits such as grinding and clenching, eating hard food and stress.
- Maintain gum hygiene – To maintain good hygiene one should rinse the mouth thoroughly. Massage gums every day – after brushing your teeth hold your four fingers and rub till the corner of the back tooth. This will help get rid of the tartar collected around your teeth that creates bacteria in the mouth.
- Visit your dentist every six to eight months – It is ideal to get your oral health checked every six to eight months to prevent gum and tooth problems.
- Sensitive repair toothpaste – If you suffer from sensitivity you should opt for sensitive repair toothpaste such as Colgate Sensitive or Sensodyne. These toothpastes create a covering layer around the tooth. Over a period of time this relieves from sensitivity problems.
- Relieve from toothache at home – A dab of Colgate Pain Out over the area and home remedy such as clove oil will help ease tooth problems while you are home. You may also have a paracetamol tablet if the toothache gets unbearable.
- Gum diseases are hard to predict – You will not know you have a gum problem until you experience bleeding, or excruciating pain, or swelling in the gum. Hence visiting a dentist every six to eight months will help clear out the onset of gum disease from getting worse.
- Teeth cleaning is unhealthy is a myth – Getting your mouth cleaned is good for your teeth. Over time there is a lot of tartar and bacterial build up that affects oral health. Getting them cleaning regular will ensure stronger and healthier gum.
- You cannot restore enamel – It is not possible to restore damaged enamel. However, you can protect your teeth enamel from breaking down by using a sensitive toothpaste and using a soft bristle brush. It is also important to refrain from brushing hard. Brush gently to maintain the enamel and try to avoid acidity.
- Dry mouth syndrome – Medication for comorbidities can cause dry mouth. The medicines can affect the salivatory glands by blocking ut causing your mouth to dry. There are some gels available in the market that can be used or one can suck on a lemon wedge.
- Onset of oral cancer – The early signs of oral cancer can be white lesions, ulcers around the mouth, burning sensation in the cheeks, soar lips, difficulty in opening mouth, limited retraction of cheeks, spots on the tongue, are the early symptoms of oral cancer.
- Dental implant is safe – Over the years, dental implants have become better. There is no risk and it is absolutely safe. Dental implants are anchored to the bone, so as long as your bone is healthy you will be able to get dental implant. However, if you have uncontrolled comorbidities, take quite a bit of medicines then your bones can get weak and that could cause a problem.
- Waterlase dentistry – No more drills. Waterlase dentistry involves laser dental treatments – hard and soft tissue laser is used to perform dental treatments. Hard tissue laser is used to perform root canal, cavity, opening of the bone whereas soft tissue laser is used to perform gum surgeries and treat problems related to cheeks. Waterlase treatments heal in 24-48 hours as oppose to conventional methods.
- Laser dental treatments are safe – The laser will not burn or harm you in anyway. The laser is placed closed to the affected area and it is in complete control of the dentist. A skilled dentist will be able to perform waterlase smoothly keeping all the safety measures, such as covering the eyes to avoid any reflection that could harm your eyes.
- Causes of bad breath – Bad breath can happen due to various reasons, one of the most common cause is poor gut health. If you have acidity problem, or digestion problem, or bacterial problem in your stomach, it will affect your breath. Another cause of bad breath is not maintaining oral health.
- Remedy for bad breath – Use mouthwash with chlorhexidine, you can easily find this in the market. This neutralises the pH level in the mouth and increases good bacteria. You can do a salt water rinse twice-thrice a day or you can add little bit of crushed alum in salt water mix and rinse your mouth with it. These are antiseptic as well as antibacterial natural agents.
- Aligner trays – The alternative way to align teeth. They are transparent trays that help align teeth the way you like. Alignment of teeth and jaws are to be done at a younger age as the process happens faster; however, it can still be done at a senior age as well but the process will be slower.
- Oil pulling – This is an ancient effective method. However, it depends on what oil you use and how much pressure you put on your gum. If the oil pulling method is not done correctly, then it can have adverse effects. So be cautious and well-informed before you try it out yourself. A gentle massage in a circular direction on the gum once a day should be good enough.