Low Awareness Lead to Increasing Teeth Cavity in Sudan, Interview
Sudan Vision Newspaper conducted an interview with Dr. Rawdah Rayan Osama Bashir, surgical dentist, who works diligently and actively to perform her professional yet humanitarian duties without showing resentment or unease to any of the patients who are of all ages and come from different backgrounds. Everybody considers her a friend because she is a person who won people's hearts by the help and advice she renders. Following are the answers she gave to questions put to her by Al-Sammani Awadallah.
Q: How did you get into the field of dental medicine and surgery; was it your choice?
A: I did not get into the field of dentistry by choice; I wanted to be an engineer or pediatrician; but when my Arab secondary school certificate was calibrated to its Sudanese equivalent, I was offered a scholarship to study at the National Ribat University; after becoming a practicing physician I fell in love with dentistry and now I practice my profession with love and dedication.
Q: Do you find practicing medicine in Sudan an attractive and lucrative job?
A: Frankly speaking; it's not financially attractive to practice medicine in Sudan since salaries are very low, and currently I am planning to go work in the Gulf.
Q: Let me ask you; what are the most common dental problems people suffer from in Sudan?
A: The gravest problem in this area is low awareness; actually it is zero awareness, regarding dental hygiene and health. Dentists contribute to this problem by not offering enough dental care information to patients. People think if anyone got tooth cavity then all he/she has to do is to go to a dentist and have that tooth filled without seeking dental nerves treatment, unfortunately I have seen someone speaking on television saying that nerve treatment causes cancer; that's a wrong understanding of the subject, we do not use laser in nerve treatment, we use ultra violet rays, we also use (Formkizol), a substance which people think is cancerous but it causes cancer for those who inhale during the manufacturing process, it is used in nerve treatment in a way that does not harm patients, that is a drop in piece of medical cotton.
Q: How is dental health awareness disseminated?
A: There are many ways of spreading awareness regarding dental health and hygiene. People think that dentists only treat teeth problems, but regardless of dental specializations; there are two largely known kinds of them, these are dental medicine and dental surgery: surgery covers the face and jaws, in case an accident take place in which the face is harmed; a patient must be referred to a dental surgeon who will operate with the help of neuro-surgeon.
Q: What is your role as dentists in raising awareness concerning regular dental checkups and dental hygiene?
A: Many people think that dental diseases are a minor problem and don't take them seriously unless they got to critical status; but regular checkups must be conducted starting at the age 8 months and sustained every six months since periodical checkups prevent dental diseases before they lead to the stage where pulling teeth and nerve treatment are required; especially in light of the fact that dental problems do not manifest any symptoms in their beginning stages.
Q: How do you regard using sedatives in treating dental problems?
A: In the short period I have worked as a dentist; I have learned many valuable things; first of which many patients evade consulting dentists and fear dental help, and they come to the dentist's when their teeth in a really final critical shape and they want to have them pulled out.
Someone came to me and said he used concentrated HCL in a syringe and released drops of the acid on his tooth and then the pain subsided. Another said he used nail polish for the same purpose. A third patient said her neighbor advised her of using a mix of garlic and sesame oil by applying it on her sick daughter's ear, a thing she said has also made the pain subside. Others use Aspirin, Paracetamol and cloves oil; all of these could relieve pain but they harm the gum.
Q: When should people start seeing dentists for regular checkups?
A: Practically; regular checkups must be started at the age of 8 months when teeth start to appear and mothers must use water and salt to clean their children's teeth, but in Sudan there is a very bad habit; breast feeding is not regular where infants are given milk in bottles to drink from all night, bottles which include milk and sugar and that leads to the accumulation of sugary substances on their teeth. I have seen children between the ages of 5 and 6 with teeth cavity problems.
|Dr. Rawdah Rayan Osama Bashir|
Q: What are the things that negatively affect teeth the most?
A: First of all; the type of food; many people believe that cavity causes can be transferred from one tooth to another, but in fact carbohydrates stick to a tooth for example, turn into sugar or sugary components and in case they are not cleaned they transform into acid which decompose the tooth paving the way for cavity. The presence of a cavity means the continuous presence of bacteria. Cavity does not happen overnight, it happens after the decomposition of the first layer of the tooth –which has three layers- and when the first layer is decomposed that's when cavity starts.
Q: In your opinion; what are the most suitable times for cleaning teeth?
A: Teeth must be cleaned after every meal; and most importantly, they must be cleaned before bedtime considering that it is a long period that allows carbohydrates to turn into sugar and allows bacteria to multiply for the presence of the opportune environment. Then it is important to clean teeth in the morning, but after drinking water to benefit from the bacteria in the mouth. A fluoride rinse must also be used.
Q: How can people avoid getting cavity related diseases?
A: There are many ways to avoid cavity and cavity related diseases, besides cleaning teeth before and after bedtime and after every meal, dental floss must also be used to clean remains of food among teeth and to lessen the amount of sugary substances. Fluoride rinse must also be used.
Q: There are several ways of cleaning teeth using a tooth brush and tooth paste; what is the best way?
A: Teeth must be brushed by moving the brush in an up and down movement which means moving the brush from the upper jaw to the lower and vice versa; this is a difficult way, but it is the ideal way.
By Al-Sammani Awadallah, 15/07/2012