Today’s world of strong communications and information sharing practices across the world has created high and new standards of facial and body appearance. The youngsters and especially girls create standards in which even minor distortions of face or teeth are not accepted. This has created awareness – a need of better oral condition. Realising this need, many governments are creating exposures to a dentist in school children. The program, though slightly different from one country to another, still aims to expose the public to expert support for oral hygiene. This has been with optional participation but has become practically mandatory due to peer pressure for the youngsters. The programs aim at avoiding more serious issues later on by highlighting issues much earlier. The target is to avoid complex interventions later caused by an unattended smaller issue. The major benefit of it will still be health.
Vital or a Desirable
As most experts argue that a large part of this program is only desirable not vital. Today, the more significant cost incurred in this program is strictly avoidable. From the health point of view, a cosmetic change is less than desirable. While cutting budgets, this program is the most discussed subject. The popularity of the program, especially among the youngsters, is sustaining it. They oppose its discontinuation as it offers a dentist’s advice while remaining incognito. Many senior politicians have probably given up, trying to axe this after initial trying.
Three Components of Teeth Care
A tooth offers 3 types of opportunities for dentists to adolescents.
- Decay usually caused by negligence
- Discoloration of teeth due to action of food on teeth surface
- Positional correction of teeth to the perceived right position
Decay Avoiding Strategies
Decay is usually attributed to negligence in oral care. Over the period of time, the implements (toothpaste, brushes, toothpicks, tongue cleaners, etc) used for oral care have become better, easier to use, and cheaper for the same effect. The key points for avoiding decay are then – only care and effort. The condition of the front teeth (easily accessed from mouth) has improved a lot. They seem to be getting a better quality of care. The condition of molars has not changed so much. While the various government programs have brought people in front of the mirror while brushing, the extent of damaged molars is still a cause of worry. The key issue still as per a study is probably laziness to spend a slightly more time and effort to handle the difficulty to reach molars.
Role of Restorative Procedures
The number of persons using restorative procedures has also increased. Teeth whitening, bleaching, even fillings are much more common now. Normally, a dentist ensures a clean oral condition before he embarks on these procedures. Thus, indirectly the oral hygiene has got improved significantly.
Discoloration is caused by the action of food on the teeth. It is probably a genetic condition of certain individuals that their teeth colour is slightly different. Normally, the temporary solution is bleaching/whitening performed by a dentist. A different colour has no impact on health anyway.
Positional Shifting of Teeth from the Perceived Right Position
The teeth are meant for certain actions on food. Person to person there is a difference in the position of teeth. However today, technology is available for certain shifting of teeth; and there is a social pressure too for which a lot of young people get the position of teeth changed. This would not change the actions in the mouth or the quality. For strictly health grounds no dentist would have wanted it either but still it is very popular.
While there are other issues a dentist faces, the key issue is still related to oral hygiene. Others are related to fashion and social needs.
Author Box – Fred Pipkin brings into the picture the trends of sustaining oral health in recent times. With dentist playing a key role as always, he explains the fashion-biased side of it too.