An Anglesey Dentist on the Importance of Personal Hygiene

by Stuart Ferraris B.CH.D(Stell), M.F.G.D.P (UK), D.P.D.S (Wales)
(Beaumaris Dental Health Practice)

Brush 'n' Floss

Brush 'n' Floss

In this article, Dr Stuart Ferraris of Beaumaris Dental Practice reflects on the importance of personal hygiene.

Some of you may remember the old song about the dustman so maybe it is time for that song to be revived along with the enhanced status of the dustman men and women!

Hygiene is pivotal to health and longevity. Whether brushing teeth, washing hands, emptying the bowels, or clearing the garbage.

Think of a cave man, or a poor soul before anaesthetics and modern dentistry, with a dental abscess death was a real option! We eulogise on the merits of modern medicine such as inoculations, and with good cause, but it is social and personal hygiene that have saved us from epidemics and plagues and tooth decay and gum disease!

In very recent times our local government has experimented with the traditional weekly removal of garbage in the interests of financial saving. But at what cost! Think back to the squalor of medieval Britain.

Rats, cockroaches and flies carrying diseases between individuals. Think of our garbage that now has to hang around for 2 weeks with seagulls (flying rats) and rats proliferating and spreading it around. Are we inviting a new era of plagues?

The dustman is king and we must not skimp on his budget. We must not regard the likes of vultures, rats, flies, bacteria and viruses as enemies! These are the dustmen of the veld. (wilderness). They keep nature clean, tidy and hygienic. Unfortunately they are not as effective in human communities due to density of population. So we need our own dustmen!

We must also spare a thought for our sewerage engineers. These are also doctors of our society. If our sewerage were not piped conveniently and efficiently away from our communities, we would again be bathing in putrid squalor and all the wonderful array of diseases that flourish in such poor hygiene.

Our hospitals are going through an old fashion audit of hygiene. The return of ward hygiene and washing hands! This will save many lives and save money. Old fashioned concepts that suffer from the fashion of managerial financial cuts that gleam good bonuses for the bosses in the short term, but with dire effects for the community.

Let's review the term "Threshold Dose". This is basically the dose for an individual over which there is a risk that the immune system cannot defend efficiently, and infection with disease being a likely outcome.

Bugs surround us. They are in the air, on all surfaces and our bodies are full on them! Eating a bit of dirt is even considered in folklore to be essential to health. Sterility is only essential in a small number of obvious areas. These are broadly where instruments are to be poked into areas not normally invaded. For example a scalpel! But hygiene is absolutely essential.

An old professor had it in a nutshell: Dilution is the solution to pollution!

In most cases we can reduce or eradicate infection risk by old fashion washing both personal and surfaces. No need for dangerous toxic chemicals that in themselves do us harm. Just good old soap and water!

Bacteria have been around for billions of years far longer than we have! We have learnt to live with each other provided we respect the laws of nature and balance, which sadly we seldom do!

Bacteria live on our skin, in our mouths and gut. We need the good ones to protect us from the baddies. Too often we damage the environment of our bodies by eating poor foods, stress and medications like antacids and antibiotics, which then leads to the imbalances called infections.

So lets ensure the local government keep our dustmen as a regular institution. Keep our environment, bodies and mouths clean and enjoy a healthy life! Visit your dentist and hygienist -that's a good start!

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