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Tooth decay: Expert advises Nigerians to use toothpaste with fluoride

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A consultant dental public health specialist, Aderonke Dedeke, has advised Nigerians to use toothpastes that contain fluoride and medium-textured toothbrushes to prevent tooth decay.

Ms Dedeke, of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, gave the advice in an interview on Thursday in Ibadan.

She urged people to always brush twice daily – last thing at night and after breakfast.

The dental health specialist also advised Nigerians to always eat healthy food and visit the dentists every six months for routine check-ups, adding, “It is often better to prevent dental cavities ab initio.”

She said there could be a clinical treatment of caries, depending on the disease stage, adding that the very early stage of the whitish lesion was reversible.

According to her, the application of fluoride by the dentist is important, as well as good oral cleaning habits.

“Small cavities that are not symptomatic may be placed under observation and patients given instructions of ensuring a proper diet and oral hygiene methods or may need filling, depending on the size,” stated Ms Dedeke.

“Symptomatic cavities can be treated in a number of ways, again depending on the progression of the disease state, which is determined clinically by the dentist and via the use of radiographs (x-rays) of the tooth/teeth in question.”

She added, “These include filling, root canal therapy and extraction, as a last resort (if the tooth cannot be saved).

Another dental public health specialist at UCH, Francis Fagbule, said tooth decay or hole in the tooth in everyday parlance, was a disease state caused by the interplay of four major factors.

According to Mr Fagbule, the factors are oral bacteria, germs, refined sugar, susceptible tooth surface and time, adding that it did not always start as a cavity or hole but ended up as one if untreated.

“Everyone has bacteria/germs in his or her mouth, but certain types are major causes of tooth decay. This bacteria ‘loves’ refined sugar, which is found in some foods like soda, confectionery, ice cream, cake, sweets, candies, chocolate and beverages, while it acts on the sugar and breaks it down into acid.

“The acid causes dissolution of the outer layer of the tooth, which, if left unchecked over a period of time (the fourth factor), may eventually form a cavity,” Mr Fagbule said.

NAN

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