Dr Shirish Khedgikar
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry dealing with diseases of gums and underlying bone. Specialists of this branch are known as periodontists and their national-level association declared August 1 as Oral Hygiene Day. Founder of Indian Association of Periodontology (ISP) Dr G B Shankwalkar was a doyen of Indian periodontics and Oral Hygiene Day is celebrated in India, in his memory, on his birth anniversary. Good oral hygiene is the key to overall health. Gums that bleed, breath that smells bad and teeth that ache are all indicators of poor oral hygiene. Bacteria grown in unhealthy mouth can get into bloodstream and spread all over the human body. Oral hygiene is neglected by most of the people and oral infections in them may cause cardiovascular disease, endocarditis, pneumonia, neurologic stroke, diabetes mellitus and oral cancers. Low weight baby births in pregnant women are also common after periodontitis, which is inflammation of gums. Pregnancy and oral contraceptive pills influence oral health. Periodontal diseases either predispose or exacerbates diabetic condition. Healthy gums are pink and do not bleed after brushing and flossing. To maintain and keep them healthy, brushing for three minutes, twice a day, in scientific way, flossing once daily is necessary. Regular cleaning (scaling) after check-up by dentist twice in a year, is also advised. Smoking and chewing of tobacco products cause staining of teeth, which affects not only the general and oral health, but overall personality. Hence, all are advised to maintain good oral hygiene for keeping the body and mind healthy.
(The writer is associate professor at Government Dental College and Hospital, Aurangabad).