Oral hygiene neglected by many UAE residents, says expert

 Oral hygiene neglected by many UAE residents, says expert
Dental protocols change from patient to patient.

Dubai - Many people are under the wrongful impression that sugar-free drinks are good for oral health. The reality is far different.

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Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Published: Thu 10 Aug 2017, 8:05 PM

Last updated: Thu 10 Aug 2017, 10:12 PM

An alarming number of the UAE residents have misconceptions about the proper steps needed to maintain oral hygiene, Aster DM Healthcare is warning.In an interview with Khaleej Times, Dr Deepa Ganesh Ganiga, a dental surgeon at Aster Clinic, Muteena, said that by far, the greatest misconception about oral hygiene concerns flossing."The most common thing I find is that using floss causes gaps in teeth. I tell people to brush and floss every day, but people always think that will cause gaps," she said.Perhaps more alarming, she added, is that many people continue to not floss at all."Around 60 per cent of the population does not floss in this part of the world," she said. "There needs to be more awareness. They just aren't aware, even though it is in the media so much.""People also say they don't know how to use the floss," she added. "But once the dentist shows them, most people do it reasonably well."Additionally, Dr Ganiga noted that too many people are under the wrongful impression that sugar-free drinks are good for oral health. The reality, she said, is far different."It's really not fine. With a lot of consumption, there is a lot of acidity to these drinks," she noted. "The amount and frequency really makes a difference. One a doesn't really, but some people drink them every two or three hours, which can cause demineralisation occur on the teeth and makes the enamel a little weak."Another common misconception, she noted, is that people may be under the mistaken belief that their oral hygiene is good because their teeth look fine to them."It definitely does not mean that the teeth are fine. There could be caries that are the start of something, which are not visible to them, or to us (dentists) with the naked eye," she said. "Only an X-ray will be able to really determine what is there. One day something may start hurting them." Given the large percentage of smokers in the UAE, Dr Ganiga said that a significant percentage of her patients suffer from the ill effects of smoking on their teeth."The gingiva are what gets most affected by the exposure to heat. Perhaps two of every five patients are affected by gingivitis because of those, from the mildest form to the most chronic and visible," she said. "Yellowing of the teeth is another issue. The main problem is that people don't stop their habits, so it continues."Dr Ganiga recommends that people visit as regularly as their needs require, rather than just the often-cited frequency of twice a year. "It really depends. Someone who brushes and flosses regularly and are relatively well settled, we can see every six months. But someone who is unable to maintain their oral hygiene may well need a more regular check-up," she noted. "People should not generalise. Protocols change from patient to patient."Even the techniques of oral hygiene change from patient to patient. Everyone doesn't require the same methods, have the same requirements or need the same dental aid. So you really need to see a dentist so they can prescribe something for your needs," she said. "It's not the same as going to a pharmacy, just buying something and poking and pushing your gums."bernd@khaleejtimes.com

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