That was the question that literally flew outta my mouth when Dr Diche came to drive me home after my first Root Canal therapy session. I couldn’t imagine there was anyone who was still licking sweet in this life looool. Not after the excruciating toothache that had plagued me on and off in the last year, peaking in recent times that landed me in the dental clinic for my fifth extraction… Y’all know I have a history with toothache. Sigh
Hi guys ooo, how’s everyone doing? Hope the fuel absence didn’t affect much? Ah, then NEPA absence too. Tz well with Naija ooo. Thankfully both power and fuel have been restored!!!
Eku CHANGE!!! I am excited for this CHANGE movement and I really pray that Buhari delivers. God will help him. Btw, enjoy these really nice pictures of Baba. Thanks to Nk for supplying them lol.
So in the spirit of CHANGE government that is kicking off tomorrow in Nigeria and Children’s day that was yesterday, I decided to do this post which is a bit of a detour on what goes down here normally.
Ok back to the sweet and tooth gist.
You see, two weeks preceding that Wednesday, I had been having sleepless nights no thanks to my tooth. I had even resorted to taking some mild sleeping pills and some ‘hard drugs’ despite breastfeeding *covers face*. I was desperate. Toothache is GANGSTA!!!
After the examination o, na so the doctors no gree pull am. I had lost four, two of which were just beside the one I wanted out so it meant all my chewing teeth were gonna be off. Instead they said they could save it with this procedure called a Root Canal Therapy. It was an expensive procedure but it was going to save me any more tooth drama plus both Diche and the Consultant were pretty convincing, those two!!!
So here I was, fresh out of the ‘Dentist’s den’, and the first sight I see is Diche licking sweet. A Dentist licking sweets!!!??? Yet they had just finished yabbing me for not taking care of my teeth. Her answer inspired this post… It went something like…
‘…I take all the necessary precautions, both for me and my kids so I know toothache can NEVER be an issue no matter how much sweets I take so don’t follow me ooo…’
Those necessary precautions? That’s what this post is all about. I asked to interview her over Whatsapp and she graciously agreed so I will edit and list so you can easily follow and reference.
You are welcome 🙂
- You can live your life FULLY without toothache and the likes. You only need to take a few precautions.
- What causes dental caries (toothache to y’all :p ) in simple terms is actually refined sugar acting on the bacteria which is normally present in the mouth, and a little bit of time and we can of course beat all three.
- Brush TWICE a day as a HABIT using a TOOTHPASTE that contains FLUORIDE and a medium/soft bristled toothbrush. Diche uses good ol’ Macleans. I use Closeup which she says is fine too. But all those ‘cheape cheape ones’ which I will not name, steer clear of them. Then those Herbal ones, the reason Dentists aren’t too crazy about them is that no one is REALLY sure what and what it contains.
- I recall a Dentist in UCH also telling me that you can eat your sweets and chocolates but if you can’t brush at that time, say you are outside, just RINSING YOUR MOUTH very well with water can help clear the sugar small at least before you brush at night/morning.
- BRUSH RIGHT. Don’t just brush for seconds, swish water around and rush along. Spend AT LEAST 1min on the teeth and another minute on the tongue. Take your time and let the fluorine have enough time to do its work. Usually when you go for S&P, an oral hygienist teaches you how to brush. It is really not something she could explain without visuals. But brushing side to side is a NO-NO even though some dental ads show that. Instead you brush in an up and down motion but best you see your dentist so she demonstrates well. Side by side actually damages the gum and while you are bothered about just your teeth, the Dentist is also bothered about your gum.
- If you brush the wrong way, you get the wrong results even though you are brushing twice a day, using the right toothpaste and all. Because some patients actually complain that they brush twice yet still have issues. Now you know why!!!
- Do your SCALING AND POLISHING EVERY SIX MONTHS. Tz a pretty PAINLESS procedure where they wash your teeth thoroughly getting into all those spaces where your toothbrush can’t get to, and do some other stuff sha. Remember what we said about TIME which would allow the bacteria act on the sugar and stuff… S&P is VERY IMPORTANT and would take care of that.
- Use a DENTAL FLOSS and NOT toothpick to clean after meals. Why? The slit between your tooth is small and rectangular and a toothpick diameter is circular so using it would just create strange spaces between your tooth and we don’t want that do we? Classic case of round peg in a square hole. Plus it also damages the gum. On the other hand, the dental floss slides in and out of those spaces easily.
- Change your toothbrush AT LEAST once in THREE MONTHS. In addition to using a soft/medium bristled brush, use a SLENDER one that can get to the back where you have the last teeth/wisdom molars. Avoid those with a bulky head biko.
Now for your kids, in honor of Children’s day, and because I do not want you passing on your jagajaga dental habits and consequent wahala to them, I am doing this. For you and me, and all the children around the world…
- Start cleaning children’s teeth from the moment they appear first with cotton wool and water or baby Dental wipes (not common in Nigeria yet)
- Introduce toothpaste at 1year. Teach them to brush day and night. Let them get used to it from a young age. That whole rinsing business after sweets and stuff is also welcome.
- Even if you want to use all those nice and fancy kiddies toothpaste, just check to be sure it contains fluoride.
- S&P should be done more often with them, every FOUR months because of course kids naturally take more sweet stuff. Start it at 1year too though real compliance starts at 3years but start the dental trips so they start getting used to it even if not much is achieved at the first visit.
- You should also do FLOURIDATION which is basically a process that exposes them to a higher concentration of fluoride for a few minutes and after which they do not eat or drink anything for one hour.
- While S&P continues as long as there is teeth in the mouth, fluoridation gets less effective as they approach the teenage years and is NOT effective on adults.
Do the above and you get your kids started on building teeth that are strong and resistant against dental caries (toothache to you hehehe) and the tendency to dental issues is greatly reduced.
Now let’s move on to address some Dental Myths
- Bad breath is not only as a result of dirty mouth/teeth. It could be as a reflection of some internal disease, esophageal reflux, some issues with your stomach and sometimes even a common cold can cause it. So, yup see your Dentist. But stop looking at everyone with bad breath as dirty. And please if your breath smells, do the needful.
- Tooth decay is not caused by worms.
- Pulling one tooth doesn’t mean you would continue pulling more and more. It is actually the BAD habit you had that replicates the situation so CHANGE THE HABIT to avoid pulling more.
- Hard bristled toothbrush is NOT BETTER than soft or medium. Yes you may think it is ‘scrubbing’ your teeth better but it is also damaging the tender gum. It really is not about how HARD you scrub but how well and how often. Please use soft or medium bristles for balance between teeth and gum. Btw, is your teeth gutter wey you dey scrub laidat? Lol.
- Using a Mouthwash does NOT replace brushing your teeth. It helps with bad breath and enhances freshness but should NOT replace regular brushing. And yes there are some medicated ones which can be used for gum disease but they have to be recommended by your dentist and it is used for just a prescribed period not continually.
- Mouthwash use causes your teeth to be brown? Not quite true though some medicated ones may cause your teeth to be brown which is why those kind are prescribed for just a short while.
- Some Toothpastes are NOT for daily use. Eg Sensodyn. It is MEDICATED TOOTHPASTE so you use for short periods as prescribed by your Dentist.
- All those Over-the-counter short term help (such as ‘Touch and Go’) are not really the best when you have a toothache. What it does is kill the nerves that help you feel pain but doesn’t take care of the real issue so it is very temporary. I recall even using Chelsea dry gin at some point during pregnancy. I used to just place it there and then spit it out. Yup it works. But we know tz temp. Lol. Don’t follow me ooo.
- Managing the pain by popping pills (eg Cataflam) for months to ease it is also not the best. Yes they would give you short term relief but may also be affecting your stomach on the long run.
- Visit your Dentist if you have any pain or issues. The visit is not always a painful one cos everyone just associates the dental clinic with pain meanwhile they are there to ease your pain away baby. So you could either have a filling, a root canal or in extreme cases, extraction.
Now what are some essentials every bathroom should have for your teeth?
- Toothpaste that contains Flouride
- A slender soft/medium bristled Toothbrush which you must change every three months at most.
- A tongue cleaner. Your toothbrush ain’t enough. And contrary to popular opinion, it is not hard to get. Almost every Supermarket/Pharmacy has for sale and it is about 500box pere.
- Dental Floss. Make I no catch toothpick for your house ooo… Yup I am now your Dental Police.
- Mouth wash. Remember it doesn’t replace brushing ooo, Nigerians!!!
- For those occasional quick ‘breath freshening’, you need some breath sprays, mints and stuff.
That’s about all but of course you know you should visit your Dentist for a more ‘personalised’ care. I really hate what toothache can do to somebody in this life so I would be making sure going forward, I do better by my teeth and of course, dental hygiene would be A MUST for my kids…
Thank you so much Dr Diche Enunwa. You are a STAR!!!
Btw does Diche look familiar? Yup, she is Pastor M’s baby sis.
I loved the Dental clinic i used. Just incase you need a recommendation. It is in Amuwo Odofin/ Festac though. I truly felt like ‘the dentist is my friend’