15th Feb, 2016
The kind of things you hear when you talk to our people can be very funny and crazy. Imagine someone telling you "I had a hole in my tooth, I took a herbal remedy and saw all the worms coming out". Makes you wonder if the tooth is a decaying fruit..lol! The sweetest I have heard is when my kinsmen from the Southwestern part of the country told me that 'kokoro' (insects) is eating up the teeth. This reminded me of beans or maize weevils. I laughed till my ribs ached.
WHAT EXACTLY IS DENTAL CARIES?
It is simply a hole(s) in a tooth caused by decay.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
When we leave FOOD remnants(especially refined, sticky carbohydrates) in our mouth for a long TIME, the BACTERIA in our mouth mistakes the oral environment for KFC or McDonalds. They feast on the food remnants and in the process, produce acids. These acids gradually destroy the TOOTH surface until a hole forms.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE A HOLE?
The hole is initially hard to notice, with no associated pain. As the bacteria continue to drill a borehole in the tooth, pain starts. Without proper intervention, the holes get deeper and wider. Pain becomes sharp, severe and persistent. And from then on, anything can happen...
HOW DO YOU PREVENT HOLES?
Holes are caused by the friendship of 4 roommates: carbohydrates, tooth surface, bacteria and time. You can prevent holes by starving the bacteria i.e reduce intake of hole-causing carbohydrates. Also reduce the time food remnants spend in the mouth. Rinse thoroughly with water after each meal, and brush twice daily.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU NOTICE A HOLE?
Before the hole becomes a borehole, pay your dentist a friendly visit. We do love money, but the earlier the cheaper!