Dental Care - The Shipowners` Club

Dental Care - The Shipowners` Club
Dental Care
You are part of it!
Healthier, fitter, safer.
Toothache may range from a distressing inconvenience
to intense, miserable pain.
Toothache is difficult to treat with only the medication
and instruments in the ship’s medical chest.
Toothache may adversely affect your performance,
upset your concentration and generally pose a real safety risk.
It is therefore extremely important to take good care
of your teeth and have regular checkups at the dentist,
especially before embarkation.
Prevention is better
than cure !
Remember that dental care systems
and the quality of care you may get in
foreign ports may vary a lot from what
you are used to.
Prevention of tooth decay can really
prevent a lot of pain and suffering
while onboard.
Modern dentistry has succeeded in reducing the incidence of dental
caries through water fluoridation, oral hygiene education, preventive
dental care and advanced technology.
However, there is a greater risk of dental problems for seafarers because
of the limited access to advanced dental care and regular control whilst
at sea.
Some of the most frequent Dental Problems are:
Tooth Decay (dental “caries”): this is damage to the tooth’s structure,
described as a “disease of civilization,” since man has strayed from a diet
rich in fruit and vegetables to one with a high intake of refined sugars.
Gum Disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect
the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. This can cause teeth to
become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
Root Canal Problems occur when the
tooth’s pulp, a small, thread-like tissue
in the centre of the tooth is damaged or
diseased. If left untreated, pus can build
up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming
an abscess.
With the limited facilities for care
onboard, prevention is vital!
Proper b
But most seafarers (and other people) do not brush for nearly that long!
To brush your teeth properly:
use short, gentle strokes
pay extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth,
and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration work
concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:
first the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
then the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, followed by
your lower teeth
finally clean the chewing surfaces
for fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too
Gently brush the outside,
inside and chewing surface of
each tooth using short backand-forth strokes.
Gently brush your tongue to
remove bacteria and freshen
A soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your
teeth and small-headed brushes are better at reaching all areas of the
mouth. A powered toothbrush can do a better job of cleaning teeth.
Remember to replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or
at least every three months. It is also very important to change
toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs.
Use a toothpaste that’s right for you. There is a wide variety of toothpastes for many conditions: cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and
sensitivity. A small quantity of Fluoride in the saliva can prevent tooth
decay so brush your teeth three times a day with a toothpaste containing
Fluoride. Too much Fluoride can cause white spots and stripes on the
teeth, so don’t take Fluoride drops or tablets without consulting a dentist
Emergency Toothache !
If you lose a filling or find a hole or crack in the enamel (surface of the
tooth), apply oil of cloves to the tooth surface.
If there is a large hole or crack in the tooth, put a temporary dressing into
the cavity as follows:
first isolate the tooth by putting a 5X5 cm piece of gauze on each
side of it
use a cotton bud or pellet to dry the cavity
place a drop of oil of cloves on cotton wool, then gently press the
cotton wool into the cavity and leave it in place
Finally, remove the isolating gauze
Repeat this procedure two to three times a day as necessary.
Take pain relievers such as paracetamol 1000 mg orally.
Rinse out your mouth with warm salty water for fi ve minutes every waking hour, until you can see a dentist.
If you think you have an infection or abscess forming, antibiotics may
be needed so consult your doctor or dentist as soon as possible.
Seek medical advice urgently if you experience:
difficulty opening the mouth
difficulty swallowing
difficulty breathing
swelling in the neck
pain much beyond the area of the infected tooth
After a blow to the face or jaw, emergency dental care may save teeth.
Should a tooth be knocked out:
handle it only by the crown
rinse it with tap water
do not scrub it
attempt to place it back in its socket
keep it in place with a finger or by biting it
if unsuccessful, place it in milk or water
seek medical advice and dental care!
dry Mouth
Dry mouth all or most of the time, can be uncomfortable and can lead to
further health problems or indicate that a more serious medical
condition may exist.
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
a sticky, dry feeling in your mouth
trouble swallowing
a burning sensation on your tongue
a dry feeling in your throat
cracked lips
reduced ability to taste things or a metallic taste in your mouth
mouth sores
frequent bad breath
difficulty chewing/speaking
Reasons why the glands that produce saliva, (called the salivary glands),
might not function properly, include:
side effects of some medicines
disease such as diabetes, Hodgkin’s,
Parkinson’s disease, HIV / AIDS and Sjogren’s syndrome
the menopause
The only permanent way to cure dry mouth is to treat its cause.
In addition, you can :
take frequent sips of water or sugarless drinks
avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea and some sodas
chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate
saliva flow
don’t use tobacco or alcohol, which dry out the mouth
be aware that spicy or salty foods can cause pain in a dry mouth
use a humidifier at night
Bad Breath
Bad breath may be caused by certain diets, inadequate oral
hygiene, stomach or intestinal problems, or disorders such as
Poor oral hygiene, advanced tooth decay or periodontal disease
may also result in bad breath.
For many, bad breath is caused by bacteria which collect in the
ridges of the tongue.
so try using a small plastic rake (tongue scraper) after cleaning
your teeth.
A germicidal mouth rinse, containing chlorine dioxide, may also
be helpful.
Contact SeafarerHelp by SMS / Skype / Live chat
SMS: +44 (0)762 481 8405
Live chat:
For countries where there is no freephone:
Call collect on +44 (0) 207 323 2737
Alternatively ask us to call you straight back.
Email SeafarerHelp:
If you would like more information and materials, go to where you can download guidelines, posters
and leaflets on other health topics for seafarers: Food Safety, Fit on board,
Safe Travel, Healthy Food, Malaria, Overweight and HIV/AIDS.
Find us on:
ISWAN is happy
to be supported by :
International Seafarers’ Welfare
and Assistance Network
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