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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

“Chocolates Won’t Give Your Kid Cavities,” Dr. Reena Thaper

  • JWB Post
  •  May 26, 2016


I remember, as a child, the mere thought of going to a dentist sent shivers up my spine. I dreaded that going to the dentist would mean the end of my sugary treats. And, like every mother on the planet, my mom used this weakness to her best advantage.

Every pastry I gobbled up and for every bit of my favorite Dairy Milk I relished, there was a voice that kept threatening me,

“Cavities ho jayegi. Saare daant kharab ho jayege. The dentist will remove all your teeth, and maybe, then flaunt your no-teeth smile.”

So, when I met the renowned dental surgeon of the city, Dr. Reena Thaper, I had my own purpose and cause attached to it.


The summers are long, and the school vacations are on. So, to bust the myths, to rightly guide the parents, and to let children enjoy their visits to their dentists, I knew I had to do this.

So, sit back and let Dr. Reena reveal the secrets of dental health, hygiene, and of course, the perfect smile.

Dental Problems, Now A Lifestyle Disease

Dr. Thaper explained how the stress levels were also affecting the dental health of children.


“Nowadays, children come to us with a vague pain in their TM Joint, i.e., the joint that connects the lower jawbone and the temporal bone. This pain is not because of any problems with the teeth, but because of the increased stress levels in the kids.”

When a person is stressed, he/she has the tendency to tightly clench and grit their teeth. This is the root cause of the pain. Such cases are increasing with the day, and it’s alarming. I would advise parents to spend more time with their children and help them overcome school and other social pressures,” she added.

Dr. Reena also expressed her concern over increased diet exposure, fewer intakes of fibrous foods, harmful effects of soft diets and late night eating habits.

“Very few people are aware that Acidity also leads to the corrosion of the enamel resulting in tooth decay. In order to prevent it, people should avoid canned foods, have more of fibrous foods, and replace juices with fresh fruits.”

No basis, Just Myths


“People come to us with all kinds of absurd sayings. We have to assure them again and again that they hold no sense.”

Reena shared with us, many incidents when patients come to them with pre-conceived notions and baseless theories.

“If a tooth is removed then all the teeth get loose.” ~ MYTH!

“Getting your gums cleaned once would lead to frequent gum cleaning visits.” ~ MYTH!

“If dentist extracts a tooth from the upper jaw then it negatively affects the eyesight of the person.” ~MYTH again!

And, the biggest MYTH explained:

“Parents scold their kids and say that eating chocolates or sweets will give them cavities. It’s the biggest myth. Eating candies, ice-creams, etc., doesn’t result in cavities. Not brushing after eating them is the cause of increased bacterial growth which leads to cavities. So, instead of completely banning children from eating sweets, the parents should instill in them the habit of brushing immediately after they eat them.”

Kids, I know I am awesome. Thank me later!

Summer Vacation is the perfect time for Dental Check


Reena suggested: “Observe their habits and try to eliminate the unhealthy ones, like chewing the pencil or pen. Take your kids for a routine dental check up. Summer vacations are ideal for dental treatments as most of the procedures require frequent sittings. In the case of braces too, it is better if they start the treatment, around this time, as there’s no school work pressures and children get accustomed to the whole thing during the long breaks.” 

Toothpaste & Toothbrush Etiquettes

According to Reena:

  1. The most important thing is the method of brushing. A person should not only brush their teeth but also massage their gums with the brush. 
  1. Always use a soft brush which has a smaller head so the bristles can reach and clean all the corners of the mouth. 
  1. Children below six years of age should use non-fluoride toothpaste and brush once a day. A person of age 12 or above can use any fluoridated (contains fluoride) toothpaste, twice a day.
  1. Choice of toothpaste doesn’t matter. Its sole role is to leave a fresh smell in the mouth. 


Best Habit = Brushing Teeth before Sleep


The doc explained the logical reason why every person should obtain the habit of brushing before calling it a night.

“At night, our body is at rest. So, when we brush at night, our mouth is free of any plague, stuck food, etc. which in turns reduces the acid formation and bacterial growth in the mouth. So, I strongly recommend every individual to make it a habit of brushing before they sleep. It works wonders for your dental health.”

I proudly exclaimed, “You know what, I am the only one at home who brushes at night.”

And, she said, “Good Girl!”

At that moment, I just wanted a lollipop to be handed to me for being a ‘Good Girl.’ Why did I have to grow up? Ugghhh!

Preserving Milk Teeth Can Cure Cancer!


Dr. Reena Thaper also discussed the latest advancement in the dentistry: if the stem cells present in the milk teeth are preserved in the stem cells bank, then, later on, they can prove useful in curing many diseases like cancer, etc.

“We have only heard of preserving the umbilical cord. But, now, it has been proved that if the milk teeth are removed at a certain age before the root formation starts, then the stem cells can be banked. They can help in combating other diseases.”

Me: How would the parents know when to get their child’s milk teeth removed for preservation?

Reena: The milk teeth start falling off at the age of 7-8 years. So, the parents should consult a dentist around that time.

Me: I have noticed that a lot of people, nowadays, are opting for transparent braces. If that’s what it is called. *embarrassed*. Tell us about it.

Reena: Yeah! They are called ‘Clear Aligners’. This treatment has proved to be a boon, especially, for the adults. We give them clear plates which they can themselves change as prescribed and so they don’t have to visit frequently like in the conventional braces treatment.

Me: Please tell us the secret behind the perfect smile of the celebs. Can we get it, too, without any surgery?


Reena: *laughs*Most of the celebrities wear laminated veneers that give them that ‘perfect smile.’ It comes under smile designing, and any person can get it done. It’s a non-surgical process, under which we clean the gums and use bleaching to give them sparkling white teeth. And, to give the perfect shape, we use the veneer, which has a shelf life of approximately 12-15 years.

Me: Wow! And, how often should we get our dental check-up done?

Reena: Everyone should get checked once in every six months, ideally.

Later, we also met Reena’s children who, btw, are dentists, too. Reena admitted,

“We are a family of dentists since 1952. My in-laws were dentists. My husband and I are into it, and now our children have also taken up the same field. We all specialize in different areas of dentistry, and so we make an effective team.”

Me: How is it to be brought up in an all dentists’ family?

Tanvi (Reena’s daughter): Well, mom loves baking, so we were treated to yummy cakes, cookies, pies, etc. They never restricted us from eating sweets or chocolates. There was only one condition: to brush every time we eat any sweets. So, it’s safe to say that we all have a sweet tooth, and that’s perfectly okay.

However, there’s just one negative thing of being born in a family where everyone’s a dentist. When I was pursuing my dental studies, whenever I used to call mom and tell her, “Mom, it’s too difficult. There’s so much pressure, deadlines, etc.” And, she always had one reply, “I know beta, we have gone through the same things in our time. Don’t complain.” So, there were no sympathies there.

We all giggled on that.

And, in the end, my wish did come true. Dr. Reena offered us a plateful of yummy cookies, lemonade, dry fruits, etc. which seemed to glare and say to me,

“You have earned us, Good Girl.”


P.S. If you wish to consult , you can contact her on 9351377887.




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