Ka-ka is the local term for tooth decay in Ghana and it’s always interesting to know there are a lot of people who know they have ka-ka (tooth decay) and assume it’s just a hole in the tooth and they usually fall into one or more of these categories:
Category 1: I have a hole in my tooth, it has been breaking down gradually, the pain comes and goes, but I’m not worried, I will see a dentist, tomorrow and tomorrow never comes.
Category 2: I have a hole in my tooth the pain comes and goes, once I take over-the-counter medications/ ka-ka police/ herbal remedies, I am fine, so no need to see a dentist.
Category 3: I have a hole in my tooth, the pain comes and goes so I have stopped chewing on that side. I am fine now so no need to see a dentist.
Category 4: I have a hole in my tooth, it used to hurt a long time ago, but now it doesn’t, see *displays hole in tooth with pride to a friend/relative* I am fine, I haven’t seen a dentist, what’s the point?
Category 5: I have a hole in my tooth, it’s only when I drink chilled drinks, I feel shocks in my teeth, so I brush with a desensitizing toothpaste and stopped drinking cold drinks, I am fine I don’t have to see a dentist.
Category 6: I have a hole in my tooth, sometimes a swelling comes near the tooth, once I take over-the-counter antibiotics since I am smart, the swelling resolves and pain subsides so I don’t have to see a dentist.
Category 7: I have a hole in my tooth, I have been taking medications/ herbal remedies, the pain resolves but now all my remedies are not working, pain is persistent, I can’t chew, I can’t sleep, my face is swollen, oh first thing tomorrow morning I have to see a dentist.
If you fall in any of these categories, you need to read on.
So the reality is you have kaka a hole in your tooth and you know, the problem is you don’t understand the meaning of the information you have, so your approach to it is based on your level of understanding. (Principle in life, Get Wisdom and in all thy getting, get understanding Provers 4:7)
#TeethliciousTuesday is about improving your basic oral health knowledge and with understanding you take action to see a dentist near you for both treatment and maintenance of oral health status.
The tooth is not like the skin (stop putting Gentian violet in it). Once there is a breech in its structure a cavity develops, it doesn’t repair itself.
Tooth decay is not “just a hole” in tooth that you should ignore until it hurts. You need to understand it is a bacterial infection, and that “hole” is the home of the ongoing infection. If you seek early intervention, that part is cut off and restored hence a “filling”.
If ignored i.e. not seeking early treatment, It progresses from enamel to dentin which is associated with cold and warm food sensitivity aka “shocks” in your teeth, and by the time you are feeling the “toothache” it is already advanced towards the pulp chamber and root canal region where the nerves are.
If ignored the progress continues. By the time you can’t put your teeth together or chew on that side it means it has gone beyond the root canal to the surrounding periapical tissues.
If there is an associated swelling near the tooth or your face is swollen it means the infection that started from that “hole” in your tooth is spreading. If you ignore, the infection can spread downwards towards the chin, neck and chest region if it’s a lower tooth or upwards towards your eyes, scalp and brain region if an upper tooth and people have died from an infection which started in the “hole” in tooth that spread to the blood stream.
A stitch in time saves nine. A cavity sealed on time saves a tooth and saves a life. If you fall into any of the categories as mentioned above, its time to visit the dentist as a word is enough for the wise and I believe you are wise.
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for taking action towards your oral health.
Stay Connected to the Vine, Stay Gorgeous & Stay Professional.
Credit: Dr Oyaks
A member of the Ghana Dental Association (GDA)