Being a doctor is not easy. Now I realise it and I can relate to the irritation of that orthopaedist I met at a family function a few months back who was bombarded with questions about diseases. He was really pissed off at the end. The same things happen with me all the time though on a less extensive scale because let’s face it what is the maximum number of diseases that you can encounter in your mouth?
As a dentist I am asked the most typical questions at every gathering and each time a sigh with grief at how senseless people can people sometimes act. Here’s a list of questions I am bombarded with mostly-
1) Which is the best toothpaste for maintaining oral hygiene?
I just can’t seem to get enough of this question.
Any toothpaste that is certified by American Dental Association or ADA like colgate or pepsodent or oral-B is good for your mouth. But the list of questions doesn’t stop here.
2) But a neem stick or baba ramdev’s ayurvedic toothpaste or Bandar chaap dant manjan does so much better than your ordinary toothpaste
I am sure they do. But the thing is our tooth has an enamel covering. Now the toothpastes that are certified by ADA are tested for use in the oral cavity. Their side effects are duly studied and they are actually safe to use. Such things can’t be said about your ayurvedic counterparts which may or may not work in all people. Instead these ayurvedic toothpastes might contain abrasive materials which can corrode your enamel layer over time and not to mention the harm they can potentially cause to the soft tissues inside your mouth.
3) But some people don’t stop there also. They cite the examples of their grandmother who has all her teeth intact at the age of 80
To these people I just make a scorny face and boy! Would I want to say that your grandma’s teeth are miracles of god withstanding her sugarcane eating habits for 80 long years! But I am a doctor and we doctors might not know anything else but we do know to be patient and calm in all situations. So I just resort to using the age old phrase “Arre bhai ab pehla wali baat kaha, pehle ke log akhrot tod lete the daanto se, aajkal ke bachche to chocolate pe palte hain” and it settles scores with a big laugh! But let me add here, most of my patients in the hospital are these old people only and you can see 90% of them have dentures and the remaining 10% have missing teeth. And the average life of human tooth is not more than 60 years. Though the tooth might remain intact but it falls down on its own in old age.
4) Should I use sensodyne? Or is sensodyne better than colgate?
Now this question is really a valid one and you can’t argue that people are being senseless. Actually it is all the fault of sensodyne advertisement which advertised the toothpaste only. This toothpaste ‘sensodyne’ curbs Sensitivity. Sensitivity is itself a disease. Allow me to explain. Your skin has receptors of hotness and coldness. In the same way your mouth does too. You experience something when a hot or a cold thing touches your skin. But you don’t apply any cream or anaesthetic on that, do you? The same thing is with your teeth. If you drink way too cold coca cola or drink too hot tea, your pain receptors in teeth naturally trigger signalling you not to drink that anymore. So why do you want to use sensodyne in such case?
Sensitivity is actually a disease when you feel sharp pain even during routine activities such as brushing or eating. Your teeth feel weak and the softer part of your teeth gets exposed. It is a fairly common disease but not as common. Almost all the people who have asked me this question said they did feel pain when they sipped hot tea but never while brushing or eating. So they were not affected with sensitivity of teeth.
The sensodyne toothpaste has pain blockers so it is not advisable to use this toothpaste if you do not have sensitive tooth. Feeling pain while drinking something excessively hot or cold is body’s own way of telling you to stop.
5) Most people are not satisfied with this answer so they enquire for more
And I, already so tired of the long list of their personal oral problems decide to use my final, most embarrassing weapon. I politely reply to them – ‘see folks, I have not become a dentist as yet. I am still studying, so save your questions for later!’ And with this short, cheeky and actually self-harming answer I just scutter away :P