EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Common dental issues, oral health diet and how to overcome fear of dentist – Dental Nurse


The mouth serves as the door to internal parts of  the body. It also serves as a vantage point for detecting early symptoms of systemic diseases. Therefore, maintaining good oral hygiene is vital to an individual’s overall health and well-being. However, a good number of people are still at a loss on how best to maintain good oral hygiene.  To shed light on this and other pressing dental issues, a registered dental nurse with years of untainted practice, Nurse Olusoji Victoria spoke exclusively to NewsClick Nigeria’s Shenayon Elisha in a detailed interview. Excerpts: 


What are the most common teeth issues you encounter in your practice?

Some of the most common dental issues that we encounter in our practice are  caries halitosis, fracture of the teeth, malocclusion, oral cancer, and others. But the most common ones we experience are those ones I just mentioned.


How does these issues differ for adults and children?

There is no difference in the disease or problems that has to do with the taste. children and adults will experience similar signs and symptoms.


Are there any emerging teeth problems we should be aware of?

I think the most popular is the one of dental caries. Caries is common to both children and adults. Caries in the layman language means hole or decay. It is however known as dental caries in medical term. Dental caries is reported to be one of the oldest and most common diseases found in humans. Dental caries is a prevalent chronic infectious disease resulting from tooth-adherent cariogenic bacteria that metabolize sugars to produce acid, which over time demineralizes tooth structure.

In addition to this is oral cancer. I think that one, too, is on a wide range. It’s affecting both children and adults. It’s such a deadly disease but with quick intervention, we can still save lives.

Another one is cleft lip and palate. This refers to openings or splits in the roof of the mouth and lip. Cleft palate is a common birth condition. It can occur alone or as part of a genetic condition or syndrome. Symptoms arise from the opening in the mouth. They include difficulty speaking and feeding. Surgery restores normal function with minimal scarring. If required, speech therapy helps correct speaking difficulties.

We have seen cases of some parents throwing their children away because of this. Some even go as far as calling the children ‘Ogbanje’. Ogbanje is an Igbo (Nigeria) expression meaning a repeater or one who comes and goes. It is a term commonly used to describe a child or adolescent that is said to repeatedly die and be repeatedly born by the same mother. However, these are not spiritual issues as some people erroneously believe. It’s just a common congenital disorder that affects the foetus right from the womb and is as a result of the woman not taking most of the precautions that was given to her during the course of the pregnancy. But notwithstanding, with technologies everywhere, we are able to get solution. So mothers with such children should not get worried as their children are neither monsters nor ogbanje but special children requiring special care. Right now there are some foundations offering free treatment to children with these defects.



What are some warning signs that someone might have a serious dental issue?

The warning signs that someone might have a serious dental issue is, number one, when there is pain. Pain is the first thing because if you have been eating before, you won’t be able to eat again. Once you are unable to eat,  you will start losing weight. So pain is number one warning sign. And also the hole because on the teeth especially for someone having caries. There will be what we call calculus and plaque before the formation of caries. And it is very advisable for such persons to go for what we call S and P. S and P means scaling and polishing. You go for S and P so as to remove the plugs in your mouth. The calculus, those calcified food particles are what causes plaque and calculus. So you have to go for S and P, scaling and polishing to remove those things so as not to cause damage on the teeth.

swelling is another serious warning sign of complicated dental issues.


What are the most important things people can do to maintain healthy teeth?

One of the basic things people can do to maintain healthy teeth is to brush day and night. Use medium soft toothbrush, use fluoridated toothpaste, floss in between the teeth. Avoid carbonated drinks. Visit the dentist twice a year, at least every six months. Rinse in between snacking and and also eat veggies and fruits and veggies.


How often should people be brushing and flossing?

People should brush twice daily; morning and night. When you brush at night, it makes the mouth look fresh. By the time such person wakes up the following morning, it’s even advisable that you take breakfast before brushing in the morning if you brushed at night before going to bed.


What is the role of diet in oral health? Are there certain foods or drinks we should avoid?

Avoid or limit intake of carbonated drinks, snack between meals and eat enough fruits and veggies for basic minerals, supplements and vitamins for strong bones and teeth. This will help keep the teeth from carries and make it stronger. It will make the teeth more stronger. So avoid any carbonated drink.


What are some effective ways to combat bad breath?

The most effective way to combat bad breathe is to brush day and night.  And also when you are brushing, you make sure that you brush your tongue because the tongue serves as towel, like the regular towel used to clean our body after bathing, the same way the tongue serves as towel for the sweat because when you eat any fruit, you use your tongue. You use your tongue to clean, to wipe the teeth, to wipe any food particles that might be stalked in the teeth. On the surface of the teeth, you use your tongue to wipe it. So when you are brushing, you make sure that you brush your tongue. And there is something that we call sputum. Make sure you cough out that sputum when brushing to avoid halitosis. You make sure you cough the sputum out from your tongue because once it is there, in the truth, this thing caused what we call halitosis. It causes bad breath also, for those that are fasting, for those that are fasting, if you know that you don’t want to have bad breath, is advisable, you drink water, is advisable, you drink water and also engage yourself in talks. Engage yourself in talks. Because when you talk, you keep your mouth under activity. Once the mouth is closed, there is tendency for bacteria’s to thrive. So the bacteria start working in the mouth and there, by the time you open your mouth, it will just be bad breath. So you make sure that you keep the mouth under activity, you keep it moving so that there will be production of what we call saliva. There will be production of saliva in the mouth. And this saliva, once there is production of saliva in the mouth, it makes no room for bacteria. It makes no room for bacteria. It makes no room for bad breath. It makes no room for bad breath. So does that. Then another thing that can cause bad breath is just like the bacteria have said, there are some people that their mouth does not produce saliva. The mouth does not produce saliva. And that will make their mouth to be smelling. That will make their mouth to be smelling. So those ones, they are systemic issues. That needs to be sorted out in the dental clinic. So it needs to be sorted out in the dental clinic. And when there is lack of saliva, it will cause dryness, dryness of the mouth, dryness of the mouth. And once the mouth is dry, there will be bad breath. Another thing that can cause bad breath is all these things that we eat, such as garlic, ginger, local beans. Those things needs to be avoid. Needs to be avoid. And for those that can avoid it, maybe when you finish consuming it, you make sure that you rinse out you make sure that you rinse out. So as not to cause bad breath. So as not to cause bad breath. There are some that they have systemic issues such as diabetes, also aura, ulcer. And those things can also cause what can cause bad breaths. They can cause bad breathes. So the effective way to combat is by avoiding foods that can cause bad breath. Foods that can cause bad breath. For those that they have dryness of the mouth, that their mouth does not produce saliva, they can tell them that they should chew gum they should chew gum so that the mouth can be kept under activity. So that the mouth can be functioning. Can be functioning. And by the time they shoe, they will be producing saliva. They will be producing saliva. And for those that are fasting, we tell them that they should take water. They should take water. They should drink water so that their mouth can be moist and it will prevent them from having bad breath. And also brushing morning and night. Brushing morning and night. And also, once they brush, they should wash their tongue. They need to brush their tongue and cough out the. The spot on in their truth, they should make sure they cough it out.


What are the benefits of using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash?

Number one, fluoride toothpaste contain antibacterial and also prevent the teeth from having caries. So fluoridated toothpaste. You know, fluoride is one of the minerals is one of the minerals that God has created for mankind fluoride is one of the strong minerals that God has created for mankind and is majorly needed for the teeth. For strong teeth. For strong teeth. So when you use fluoride toothpaste, there is tendency that such person will not come up with carries because the fluoride that will make the teeth strong. Because once the teeth is strong, there is no other. The teeth can get softened to an extent of having an o. And that is why when you use fluoride toothpaste or drink, when you use fluoride toothpaste, I mean when you use fluoride toothpaste, it serves a huge benefit to the teeth and also mouthwash. Mouthwash. Mouthwash, when you use mouthwash, gives the mouth clay bread. Mouthwash gives the mouth clay bread. And also reduce the activities it reduce the activities of bacteria in the mouth. It reduces the activities of bacteria in the mouth. So that is the work of the mouthwash. So when you take mouthwash, it will reduce the activities of bacteria in the mouth. That can make one to have mouth odor. So it reduces the activities of the bacteria in the mouth. And that is just it. That is the benefit of using flu, right. Toothpaste and also mouthwash.


What are the most common mistakes people make that harm their teeth and how can people overcome their fear of the dentist and prioritize regular checkups?

It the most common mistake that I think people make that Anzia teeth is negligence. Negligence. And also the fear of visiting the doctor. Number one is negligence. Some people have ignorance and you know, the Bible says that my people perish because they lack wisdom, because they lack knowledge, because they lack understanding. And that is what causes many people to perish. So ignorance is a major problem of so many people coming up with mistakes. And this can arm their teeth. Negligence in another angle, that when some people don’t really take their teeth as important, some people prefer to wear clothes, some people prefer to spend money on some every other thing than to take care of their teeth because they count it as it doesn’t matter as what is teeth. They don’t really think there is something that can arm their teeth. So negligence. Negligence is another mistake that most people have. They have this I don’t care attitude to their teeth. Some takes care of their bp than teeth. Some takes care of every other illness, every other part of their body than their teeth. So negligence, they don’t really pay attention to the problem that can easily cause arm to their teeth and to overcome their fears. To overcome their fears is that they need to take a bow step. They need to take a bow step. They just need to take a bow step and visit the dentist. Because if they don’t take a bow step, if anything happens, if anything happens to their teeth, it is still this dentist that they are either afraid of or that they are afraid of that they will still run to. So why not go to somebody that will take care of you than being scared of that person? Why not go to the person on your cooking for mama Fenitomasi? According to the proverb, according to the ade of the elders, that a dead body does not keep his body secret to the one that will bury it. So that’s just it. So it is good to prioritize our regular checkup. It is good to prioritize it just as the normal way. You will take care of your air. You will go to the salon, tell your stylist to wash your hair for you so that your hair will not be smelling the same way you go to, what is it called to mechanic to service your motor or generator? The same way you should take your teeth to the dentist that let them shake. By the time they shake, it will even ascertain you that okay, this is the state of my teeth. It will make you to be well, ascertain the state of your teeth. Whether it is okay or it is bad or it is semi bad. If it is okay, thank God. You don’t need to get worried. Rather for you to keeping up with your teeth and be taking precautions. For the semi bad, it’s still a bit okay because it has not reached the state of you extracting it. They will do what we call a conservative treatment on it. For the ones that adds oak, they will do restorative treatments to it and then save the tooth. But the one that is bad, they have to extract it. They have to extract it. And you know, when a tooth is being removed, when a tooth is being removed, it can be replaced. We have different technology as given many options to replacement of tooth. We have permanent, we have temporary. But before it comes to that, why not take care of the teeth? Why not make it a top priority? Why not visit the dentist twice a year, at least every six months, so as not to come up with two decay, thereby leading to you feeling an o or even extracting it, costing you more money to spend when you can easily spend little on it right now. So that is just it. People should come off of their ignorance, people should come off with their negligence and people should come off of any fear that, oh, because of the instrument, the dentist we use. Who told you? Have you been there? Do you think whether they will use any big instrument on you? They have never diagnosed you. Let them diagnose you to know what is right for your teeth and also to keep you safe. And that’s just it.


What advice do you have for people who struggle with maintaining good oral hygiene due to financial constraints or other limitations?

My advice to people that struggle to maintain their good aura hygiene due to financial constraint or other limitations, my advice to them is that there is no financial constraint in maintaining your aura health. It in maintaining your aura hygiene. There is a slogan that we say that aura elt is the gateway to the body. Aura elt gateway to the body. The mouth is the gateway to the body. Anything that happens to the body starts from the mouth because you feed through this mouth. So financial constraint financial constraint cannot lead to you not maintaining your aura hygiene. I’ve already listed it. Brush morning and night. Brush morning and night. Use medium toothbrush. This does not require money to do brush money and night does not require money. Does not require you spending money. It does not use medium toothbrush. When you go to the market, check the toothbrush you are using. Make sure that the brush is soft, at least medium soft. Use fluoridated toothpaste. When you go to the market and you want to buy your toothpaste, don’t just buy any toothpaste, buy fluoridated toothpaste. We have examples of them. I can’t start mentioning it because I’m not paid for advert to advertise for any company. But when you look at every pack check there is a component. You will see the ingredients that they use in making that toothpaste. Read through it. You will see it where they write fluoride. If it contains fluoride, buy it. If it does not contain fluoride, ask for another one that contains fluoride. This does not cost a thing. Also snack in between meal. Snack in between meal when you want to eat. Okay, this is the time you want to eat. You can snack then you eat because you know that by the time you are eating, you are drinking water. You are at the same time rinsing your mouth. Snack in between your meal. Snack in between meal. Feed on fruits and veggies. Feed on fruits and veggies. How much is vegetable? At least the amount of vegetable we will see. The cost of vegetable that we will see in the market at most is 200 naira. When you buy vegetable of 200 naira, buy rodo Andread naira, tomato, hundred naira. That’s 400. You don’t need meat except if you want to make younger. You can buy meat and put on meat, put alubosa and then cook and eat is a nourishment on its own and this will help in keeping the state of your teeth more healthier than any other thing rather than you buying soft drink. When you take soft drink. There is this content in soft drink, the acid. There is an acid that once the soft drink, once it acts on the teeth, it makes our teeth to soften it soften our teeth because of the sugar. Because of the content of sugar in it, it softened the teeth. Rather than drinking carbonated drink, why not take fruits for example? Apple, as I’ve said is 150. You can buy every other fruits also and eat all these things. We keep the teeth ld all these things we keep the teeth more LD. They are not expensive. It is when problems start coming on the teeth, that is when expenses comes up. But for those that are struggling in maintaining good aura hygiene due to financial constraints, I think there is nothing of social with those things I’ve listed. And also they need to flux. There is something that we call dental flux. Instead of them picking meat lodge in between their teeth, instead of them picking it with toothpick. Once they use toothpick, their teeth will start bleeding. It’s advisable for them to use dental flux. When you go to the market or to the pharmacist ask for dental flux. Sometimes it’s put on tooth inside a pack of toothbrush is white like this, a white rope trade. You use it and use it to bring out whatsoever teeth and meat stocked in between the teeth. Those things, they are not expensive. There is nothing like financial constraint. If they can take off those steps, in fact they are good to go. The only thing that will make them visit the dental clinic is just for shake off. Because they know that there is nothing, there is no o on their teeth. So they should keep taking their fruits and veggies, brushing their teeth day and night. Use fluoridated toothpaste. It snack in between meal, avoid carbonated drink, feed on fruits and veggies. Visit the dentist twice a year and also use soft medium toothbrush. Those things we help them over whatsoever limitations that they might have. Thank you.