More education needed on implications of not maintaining good oral hygiene

Dr Jonathan Cole speaking at the Smiles For The Pacific workshop at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel on Monday. Picture FELIX CHAUDHARY

A NEW Zealand dental professional with 35 years of experience says Fijians need to understand that dental cavities and gum disease left untreated could potentially be life-threatening.

Dr Jonathan Cole, a private practitioner who has been conducting training at the Lautoka Hospital Dental Clinic for the past seven years, said more education was needed on the implications of not maintaining good oral hygiene.

“A dental infection can lead to hospital admission and life-threatening illness if the infection does not come out into the mouth, but goes into the tissues behind the mouth,” he said.

“It can lead to you having a swelling in your neck called cellulitis and it could start to swell around your breathing tube and this could potentially be life-threatening. “There are a number of admissions at the hospital every year for something like that.”

Dr Cole is an associate of Smiles For The Pacific, a charity that he began with Dr Mahendra Moopnar in 2012 which conducts training and specialised treatment in the Pacific region.

Dr Cole said while sugar was a major contributing factor to cavities and gum disease, it also contributed to a host of other health issues.

“We all know what it can lead to in terms of diabetes, liver disease and heart disease.

“Another thing to think about is the fact that gum disease and heart disease are linked scientifically and the whole quality of life is affected by having bad teeth, dental caries and gum disease.”

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