Category: Education

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By: AMARKUMARACHARYA (34 month(s) ago)


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INTRODUCTION: It is the prohibition against touching, saying, or doing something for fear of immediate harm from a supernatural force. The term is of Polynesian origin and was first noted by Capt. James Cook during his 1771 visit to Tonga, but taboos have been present in virtually all cultures. They may include prohibitions on fishing or hunting at certain seasons, eating certain foods, interacting with members of other social classes, coming into contact with corpses, and (for women) performing certain activities during menstruation. Although some taboos can be traced to evident risks to health and safety, there is no generally accepted explanation of most others; most authorities agree that they tend to relate to objects and actions that are significant for the maintenance of social order.


DEFINITION: A taboo is a strong social prohibition (or ban) against words, objects, actions, or discussions that are considered undesirable or offensive by a group, culture, society, or community.


VARIOUS TABOOS IN DENTISTRY: 1. Blowing of worms will prevent caries. 2. Teeth are blackened to prevent caries. 3. Teeth get loosened by getting cleaned by dentist. 4. Raw brinjal not given to children as they blacken the teeth. 5. Removal of teeth affects eye sight. 6. Cloves and supari is used to reduce tooth pain. 7. Forwardly placed teeth are considered lucky. 8. Fallen teeth are thrown on top of the house. 9. Hard and vigorous brushing only will clean the teeth. 10. Teeth at birth are considered bad omen to grandfather. 11. Gold crown in front tooth indicates that the person has visited Mecca.

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Gold crown in front tooth indicates that the person has visited Mecca Wrapping over extracted site for relieving pain Removing of incisors for easy spitting Alteration of the shape of the tooth in late childhood and teenage in some society

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Many decades ago unqualified dentists (quacks) provided certain dental treatment that was not based on scientific principles and along with this kind of assumption based treatment; taboos developed which became imprinted in people's minds. Dentistry today is an advanced specialized branch of medical science based on scientific facts. Research in dental science has led to better understanding of oral diseases and a systematic approach to treatment based on facts became established. This advancement in dental science has only reduced the misconcepts and not completely eliminated it from the minds of the people. Here few of the taboos which still exist are presented along with their related facts for people to understand.

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1 . Removal of upper teeth affects vision. Fact - There is a myth among many people that removal of the upper teeth affects vision. This is a misconception. Vision is not affected in any way by undertaking treatment of the upper teeth including its extraction . 2 . An artificial set of teeth or complete denture that is made once is forever . Fact - While it is true that well fitting dentures are used by the patient for many years, it is a myth that it can be retained forever. The oral tissues that lie below the dentures change over a period of time. But the dentures are made of stiff materials that do not adapt according to the changing contours of the oral tissues. Thus even a well fitting denture may not fit well after a few years. If an ill-fitting denture is continued to be worn, it can cause damage to the underlying tissues. Thus most dentist advice changing of the dentures once in at least 5 years.

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3 . Once a decayed tooth is treated the dental problem is over. Fact - Dental decay is treated by use of various restorative materials. However the artificial material usually will not completely match the tooth in strength, colour , smoothness and other qualities. In addition if the patient does not maintain good hygiene, decay can start again around restorations. Hence, whenever a tooth is filled or replaced it requires use of additional cleaning methods like flossing, interdental brushes, etc, in addition to regular tooth brushing. In addition dental check up once a year becomes all the more important when you have a treated tooth. 4 . Professional cleaning/scaling/removal of tartar loosens the teeth . Fact - Teeth are held firmly by the supporting tissues of the periodontium including bone. Bad oral hygiene results in the deposition of tartar /calculus on the tooth surface. These deposits irritate the gums and can cause inflammation and bleeding of the gums. If the tartar is not removed, the gums may recede and the supporting bone around the teeth gets destroyed. The tartar on the teeth thus causes great harm to the supporting tissues of the teeth. However, patients may experience slight mobility of the teeth after tartar is removed as it kind of binds the teeth together. Professional cleaning removes this tartar and arrests further destruction of supporting bone. Removal of tartar deposits only helps to recover the health of supporting structures. This chain of events does not take place in people who have dental checkup regularly.

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5 . Dental procedures are always painful . Fact - Most dental procedures are carried out under local anesthesia, which makes the procedures totally painless. In addition the modern day high-speed drills cause less vibration and are more comfortable for the patients. 6 . Dental treatment should be avoided during pregnancy. Fact - The above notion is not true. Many a times dental treatment is provided even during late pregnancy. Routine dental procedures can be carried out without any fear. However, major surgical procedure may require medical opinion before treatment. Dental X-rays are to be avoided during the first three months of pregnancy. 7 . Cleaning the teeth with finger & powder is better than with toothbrush. Fact – The use of a tooth brush with bristles to clean plaque and food particlesf rom almost all the surfaces of the teeth. The finger may not reach all the areas as well as a brush does. Hence, it is recommended to use a toothbrush with paste to clean the teeth and freshen the mouth. Finger can only be used to massage the gums after brushing is complete.

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8 . Charcoal, salt, rice husk, tobacco, etc, in powder form is better than toothpaste in cleaning teeth. Fact - The objective of cleaning the teeth is to remove the plaque and food particles on and around the teeth by the bristles of a toothbrush with the help of a toothpaste or powder. A standard paste or powder contains proper sized particles, which are not harmful to the teeth. However, other powders are coarse and can erode the outer layer of the teeth and permanently damage them. Hence, only standard toothpaste or powder should be used with a toothbrush. Toothpaste is better than powder as it can easily be dispensed on the brush and it may contain fluorides, anti-tartar chemicals, etc. The foaming action of the toothpaste also helps to freshen the mouth. Tobacco should not be used. Users enjoy the euphoric effect of nicotine present in tobacco rather than cleaning of the teeth and slowly become addicted to it. Hence, it should never be used. 9 . Thumb sucking by children leads to forward placement of upper teeth . Fact - Thumb sucking is a normal infant habit, which makes the child feel secure and happy. It usually decreases after the age of 3 years. However, if the habit persists beyond the age of 4-5 years it can cause problems of the teeth including forward placement of the teeth. In these children, depending upon the frequency and severity of the habit an intervention of the habit by a dental surgeon may be required.

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10 . A child never needs cleaning of milk teeth. Fact - It is a myth that we need not clean a child's teeth. Children are as much prone for dental decay or gum diseases as adults. In fact children tend to have sweet food including sweetened milk and juices which can promote dental caries. So it is advisable to start the habit of cleaning the infant's teeth soon after they appear in the mouth. In fact it is advised to clean baby’s gum pads everyday by gentle massage even before the teeth erupt. 11 . Milk teeth need not be cared for because they last only for a few years, and these teeth will anyway be replaced by permanent teeth. Fact - Early loss of milk teeth will interfere with chewing and affect the child’s nutrition. Early loss of milk teeth leads to drifting of the adjacent teeth and closure of some of the space that is required for the succeeding permanent teeth to erupt into. Such a loss of space will cause the permanent teeth to erupt in irregular position and result in crowding. Therefore milk teeth need to be cared for as much as permanent teeth.

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12 . When the gums bleed, it is better not to brush the teeth. Fact -Bleeding of gums is a sign that they are inflamed and are not healthy. This usually is a result of plaque and food particles accumulating around the teeth. Until this collection is removed, the gums continue to bleed. This is an indication that the individual needs to visit a dentist for opinion and treatment. Brushing the teeth with a soft toothbrush by the proper technique removes the plaque and helps the gums recover. Initial bleeding seen during brushing gradually reduces over a period of time. 13 . Keeping an aspirin tablet beside a painful tooth reduces the tooth pain. Fact - A toothache cannot be relieved by placing an aspirin tablet anywhere in the mouth. In fact this is a dangerous habit as it causes burns of the soft tissues around the area of placement. Hence, aspirin tablets should not be placed in mouth but swallowed after eating some food to relieve the pain.

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14 . When an artificial set of teeth are worn, the upper denture logically has to fall down in the mouth and create problems, however the lower denture that should rest in place does not stay. Fact - Although the lower denture rests on the ridges of jaw, it does get easily dislodged because of the interference of the muscles of check, lips tongue and movement of the jaw during function. However, with time the muscles learn to co-ordinate with the lower denture and the patient overcomes this problem. The upper denture, on the other hand stays in its place due to creation of suction under the palate. Toothache : apply the following mixture to the corresponding shoulder: figs, saffron, mustard seed, and plaster of myrrh; boil earthworms in oil and drop the oil into the ear holes; rub the tooth with dried cow’s dung! Tooth decay : rinse with a mouthwash made by boiling dogs’ teeth in wine. To make loose teeth firm, tie a frog to your jaw.

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Tooth fairy : Many people tell their children that when we loose our teeth/tooth, and when placed under our pillow before we sleep a tooth fairy comes and exchanges the tooth with a gift.

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People seem to cringe when they hear the words root canal. I know that I used to. But reading the truth about these 10 root canal myths can help you get a better sense of what having a root canal really is all about .

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1. Root Canals Hurt According to the American Association of Endodontists , the perception of root canals being painful began decades ago when root canal treatments were painful. Today, with modern technology and better anesthetics, root canal treatments are no more painful than having a filling. Knowing what to expect while having a root canal can help ease a lot of anxiety . 2. Root Canals Require a lot of Visits to the Dentist With today’s cutting edge technology, most root canals can be performed in one or two office visits . 3. Crowns Cause Teeth to Need Root Canals Many people believe that having a crown on a tooth means that the tooth will eventually need a root canal. Crowns do not cause the need for root canal therapy. If a crowned tooth does require a root canal, it could be that the tooth has abscessed or that decay has gotten underneath the crown and reached the pulp of the tooth.

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4. Root Canals Cause Illness There is no evidence to support that root canals cause illness. However, there is evidence to support the fact that people who have had root canals are no more at risk for developing illness than people who have never had root canals . 5. Root Canals Involve Removing the Roots of the Tooth When the dentist or endodontist performs a root canal treatment, he or she removes the pulp from inside of the tooth. The roots of the tooth are not removed . 6. Pregnant Women Can't Have Root Canals Pregnant women can and do have root canals. Having a root canal does require a small x-ray, but the radiation exposure is very minimal and the x-ray is aimed at the mouth, not the abdomen area. If you are pregnant and your dentist needs to give you an x-ray, he will use a lead apron to cover your belly. The anesthetics that dentists use are also safe for pregnant women . Be sure to let your dentist know beforehand if you are pregnant.

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7. EVEN WITH A ROOT CANAL, THE TOOTH WILL COME OUT EVENTUALLY If you have your tooth properly restored, maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist for regular checkups, your natural tooth could last for the rest of your life. 8. If the Tooth Doesn't Hurt, There is no Need for a Root Canal While a throbbing toothache usually results in the need for root canal treatment, many times a tooth can require root canal treatment when there is no pain present. Dentists and endodontists are specially trained to test a tooth to see if the pulp has been infected or damaged. If this is the case, a root canal would be necessary to save the tooth.

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9. Pulling the Tooth is Better than Getting a Root Canal Keeping your natural teeth for as long as possible is very important for proper eating and chewing functions. There are several options available for missing teeth, such as dentures, partial dentures, dental implants and fixed dental bridges, however, these alternatives can be much more expensive than saving your tooth with a root canal treatment . 10. After Having a Root Canal, My Tooth is Completely Restored After having a root canal, it is extremely important to make a follow-up appointment with your dentist to have the tooth permanently restored. After the pulp of the tooth has been removed, the tooth can become very dry and brittle. Having a permanent restoration will help protect your tooth from fracturing.


DISADVANTAGES OF TABOOS: 1. Tooth chipping carried out in the late childhood and teenage of some society result,- *pulp necrosis producing non-vital teeth *inflammatory periapical pathology * cellulitis and osteomyelitis *carries and tooth loss 2. Teeth get loosened by getting cleaned by dentist; this belief may lead to various periodontal problems. 3. Hard and vigorous brushing only will clean the teeth, this leads to worn out of soft tissues and gingiva. 4. Keeping aspirin tablets, cloves or supari beside a painfull tooth do not reduces pain but it causes burns of the soft tissues.


CONCLUSION: The developed and underdeveloped regions of the tropics comprise a vast repository of biliefs and knowledge concerning health, diseases and treatment. In some instances, this knowledge has been retained for hundreds of years. Awareness of them is important for those who are involved in the treatment of patients and for those involved in the planning of dental health care delivery system.

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This awareness is important in the context of; 1. Sensitive approach and respect for cultural belief by those treating patients according to modern methods and by those planning dental care delivery systems. 2. Giving thought to the incorporation of local biliefs and practices. 3. Convincing people of the harmful effects of some practices. Those involved in providing dental care and professional dental education should identify the cultural practices involving the teeth and oral soft tissues.