Learn about your teeth and gums and how to keep them healthy in "bite size" articles.This is going to make you Smile.. Healthy!!!


The pic is nt a pretty sight, is it?? It is a painting by Charles Bell depicting a soldier dying of tetanus.

Tentanus is a disease caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. The bacteria enter the body through various puncture wounds.. for eg.. when you cut yourself with a sharp unsterilised instrument, the feared rusty nail.. and in the case of this soldier, probably from a bloody sword..

When an unsterilised instrument is used to cut the umbilical cord of a newborn baby, and if the mother is not immunised, the chances of the baby getting tetanus is high.

The bacteria enter the body and produce a toxin which acts on the body's central nervous system and causes intense muscle spasm. From the time the bacteria enter the body to the the time symptoms are seen may vary from a week to months.

Symptoms include :
1.Inability to open and close the mouth.
2. Stiffness in the neck
3. Stiffness of the facial muscles
4. Muscle spasms lasting several minutes.

Tetanus is a disease that can be prevented. The tetanus toxoid vaccine is administered and a booster dose is administered every ten years.
After an injury, if your immune status is not known, it is advsable to get an injection of tetanus toxoid.

The following is the national immunisation schedule in India. The "T in DPT" indicates tetanus vaccine.




6 weeks

10 weeks





Primary vaccination



Oral polio









Hepatitis B*






Booster Doses

DPT + Oral polio

16 to 24 months


5 years

Tetanus toxoid (TT)

At 10 years and again at 16 years

Vitamin A

9, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months

Pregnant women

Tetanus toxoid (PW): 1st dose

2nd dose


As early as possible during pregnancy (first contact)

1 month after 1st dose

If previously vaccinated, within 3 years

Tetanus is not a disease to be taken slightly. It is a potentially fatal disease that can be prevented by proper vaccination. So safeguard yourself and your family from this deadly disease.. and keep smiling healthy.. :)

Demystifying Fillings

Cavities - though avoiding them is the better idea, what do you do once they are formed??

Cavities maybe classified as shallow or deep. They may even destroy part of the crown of the tooth.
The best way to treat cavities is to remove the rotted, decayed enamel and dentin and fill the cavity with a suitable material.

The most commonly used filling materials are - silver amalgam which is silver in colour or tooth coloured filling materials... A rare dentist may actually suggest a gold filling.

Silver amalgam - Its a mixture of mercury and a lot of other metals. Its been a standard for all fillings. Though it is incredibly strong and lasts a very long time.. its silver colour is a drawback. Hence its popularity is dwindling... Still.. it continues to find use in fillings of the back teeth.

Teeth coloured materials.. these are newer better looking options though they are not always as strong as amalgam. The dentist may use a GIC mix or a composite mixture. GIC actually contains fluorides which prevent caries under the filling.. and composites are available in so many different shades that they mimic natural teeth.

With so many options... you can correct mistakes of the past and flaunt a bright new filling and nobody can actually tell the difference between your natural and filled pearlies.. So go on and get those teeth filled.. and keep smiling healthy!!!

Scaling ..

You may have heard your dentist say, you need a scaling. Iam sure you would know what tartar means..
Scaling is a process that involves scraping of the tartar off your teeth and getting them back to be squeaky clean. Scaling can also remove stains that are on the outer surface of the tooth. Scaling is usually done with an ultrasonic scaler but there are also plain old manual scalers.

An ultrasonic scaler uses the energy of exploding bubbles of water to remove the tartar (cool huh??!!). Its relatively quicker, less painful and less traumatic.
Hand scaling is usually done in patients who have any kind of respiratory trouble or in a patient with active infection. In some patients with old cardiac pacemakers, its better to take the advice of your dentist and your physician as to which method is best for you.

Scaling will not remove the tooth enamel as is wrongly believed. Nor can scaling be used to remove stains inside the tooth surface as occurs in drinking well water.

Before your scaling procedure, brush your teeth to remove all gross particles. Its not very pleasant for the dentist to remove your morning breakfast from your mouth. After brushing, its advisable to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthrinse.

Scaling produces an aerosol - a spray of water and saliva and most importantly the bateria in your mouth. This mouth rinse considerably reduces the bacteria in the aerosol.

During the scaling procedure, if you feel extreme sensitvity, inform your dentist so that he or she can adjust the frequency and water spray level. This does not occur with hand scaling.

After the scaling procedure, if you have pain or sensitivity, ask your dentist for a mild analgesic. It usually resolves in a day.

Scaling done regularly . say once in six months will kee your teeth and gums in good condition. Scaling should be complimented with good brushing and flossing habits. With your teeth shining and your gums a healthy pink, you should not stop smiling .. healthy!!