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Dec 9, 2010

Bite into Healthy Living’s segment on teeth

It’s the Christmas season, so there is bound to be an abundance of cakes, chocolates and other sweets. It’s also a good time to exercise extra care in your oral hygiene. Cavities are not reserved for children; adults are also prone to them. Constant brushing of the teeth is a safe measure to keep you away from the dentist’s chair. Healthy Living discusses why the refined foods, sugars and carbs pose threats to healthy teeth.

Marleni Cuellar reporting

As children we endured countless warnings of the dangers of eating too much candy and the necessity of good oral hygiene. As we became adults though, the warnings have faded with some memories of our childhood. As many have learned through experience, dental cavities are still a reality for adults. Dr. Pedro Habet explains that the shift in our diets has reinforced the need to continue being mindful about cavities.

Dr Pedro Habet, Dental Surgeon & Orthodontist

“A cavity is essentially a process by which bacteria starts to attack the teeth They multiply and end up sticking to the teeth and adhering to the teeth and having acids. And these acids when they have contact with  the teeth for a prolonged period of time they will start to demineralise or weaken the teeth to the point that they start to cavititate and become a bit more porous become a bit more easy to wear away.  In fact that’s really what has caused cavities to become so predominant in our age.  Simply because we have gone to a diet of refined foods, refined sugars, carbohydrates so definitely the mouth is naturally full of bacteria but if it won’t have the substrate the sugars the carbohydrates on what the bacteria act on then we won’t get cavities.”

How are cavities combated? That’s easy. Through brushing our teeth and having good oral hygiene. It is when we slack off on maintaining good oral health that we create the perfect environment for tooth decay. Some people, though, are more prone to developing cavities due to genetics.  One important fact about cavities is that often times it develops with little or no symptoms. Some pain, sensitivity to hot and cold and also air can occur but often when the cavity has worsened which is when they seek treatment.

Dr Pedro Habet

“Other symptoms would be in cases where it is more advanced you can have dental abscess, swelling of the face, severe pain of course. So it varies quite a bit.  Although most of the times people are aware of it but they just let it be. It has to hurt for us to get them in here too many times. So, depending on the severity that pretty much dictates what we need to do. Whether it’s a filling or if its pretty bad if we can do a root canal or if really beyond repair well then we have to extract the tooth and then we consider replacing it artificially.”

An untreated cavity can lead to loss of the tooth and possibly complications which lead to gum disease.  But regular checkups even after a filling are important. Dr Habet explains why.

Dr Pedro Habet

pedro habet

“You cannot expect fillings to last forever.  They are an artificial substitute for the natural tooth structure so even if you have a tooth filled doesn’t mean that you cannot get another cavity on another area of the same tooth.”

But the greatest warning is still for parents in regards to their children’s teeth. As, Dr Habet explains the culprit most times is attributed to poor early feeding habits and misconceptions about baby teeth.

Dr Pedro Habet

“We have to keep in mind that we have baby teeth that should stay in our mouth until we’re about eleven/twelve years old that’s when the last baby molars usually change. So obviously if you don’t have the baby molars you can’t chew well. So if we can’t chew well we can’t digest well. Which means our body is not well sustained. The other thing is that baby teeth also act as space maintainers so we lose baby teeth earlier we end up having a problem with teeth that lose space when its time for the permanent teeth to come out and they end up having crooked teeth.  Their mother gets them use to the habit of falling asleep with a drink in their mouth, whether its milk or a sweetened drink many times this same liquid that’s stays in their mouth while they’re asleep for hours at a time will cause extensive and rapid decay of front teeth. So many times I’ve seen children 1year old with the four upper front teeth totally destroyed to the gum so mothers need to be aware and not get the babies into the habit of falling asleep with drinks inside their mouth.”

As for the rest of us, we should keep vigilant about good oral hygiene practices: Brush Brush Brush.

Dr Pedro Habet

“That’s pretty much it. a good diet and avoiding those snacks in between meals especially the junk that we like to eat so much brushing as soon as you can after you’ve eaten. If you’re out and you don’t have a toothbrush handy, go to the bathroom grab a cup of water, rinse your mouth out vigorously and at least that helps to get some of the loose debris out of the mouth.  Chewing gum, it can help, but you only need to chew gum for twenty minutes after you’ve eaten after that it’s just useless. And if you do chew gum, use the sugar free gum but in all honesty even chewing gum won’t be as effective as brushing and flossing.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Bite into Healthy Living’s segment on teeth”

  1. EL CHE says:

    In belize only the rich can afford to go to the DENTIST.in all the cayo district there is only one dentist.one dentist for thousands of belizean recidents?something is wrong,we belizeans are so blessed here in maerica,our children get free dentist care.government does care for us citizens here.

  2. macal rivera says:

    EL CHE, you dah wan big jackass and you definatley dah no from here, cayo have a lot of dentist Ok and if people can afford to drink rum every weekend like you, then everybody can afford to see a dentist OK. You go like if said musa and dean barrow should hold your hand and take you to the dentist. FOOL

  3. Ezekiel says:

    That’s really true. Only the Rich can afford regular dental checkups. GOB needs to put a program in place for our Belizean children to have a free dental checkups. Remember this is our future generation that will lead this country forward.

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