Saturday December 15, 2018

Tongue Speaks Volumes About Hygiene, Health

The other way to maintain the tongue's hygiene is to use a mouthwash

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Tongue Speaks Volumes About Hygiene, Health
Tongue Speaks Volumes About Hygiene, Health. Pixabay
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It wasn’t long ago that singer Cher advised pop sensation Miley Cyrus not to stick her tongue out if it’s coated, which is certainly not visually appealing.

Experts say the tongue’s condition speaks volume about one’s hygiene consciousness and also reveals one’s health status.

Be it your friends who love to stick out the tongue or actors who prefer close shots, if the tongue is covered with a thick white layer it’s definitely a big turn off.

Aikta Singh, consultant dentist at Gurgaon’s Columbia Asia Hospital, says if brushing the teeth is important, cleaning the tongue is equally essential.

“First, wash a tongue-cleaner and then place it on the tongue. Don’t apply too much pressure and clean in a downward motion at least two to three times. If the pressure is too much you may hurt your tongue,” said Aikta Singh.

Also Read: Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies

Clean the tongue on a regular basis to prevent bacteria from growing, she added.

Sonali Bassi, oral care expert at parentune.com, said eating food that have strong colours can also be the culprit for unwanted colour on your tongue.

“Turmeric, black grapes and berries are some of the food items that can leave a colour on your tongue,” Bassi said.

But these edible items are not harmful and can be easily removed with the help of scrapers available in the market.

“Metal and plastic tongue scrapers can be used to remove the coating on the tongue. Most toothbrush companies have also come up with brushes with soft bristles and a rubbery attachment on the reverse that can be used to clean the tongue,” said Bassi.

Ayan Mozumdar, dentist, NationWide – The Family Doctor, said that using the reverse of the brush is safe, but avoid the front part for the same purpose.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Studies have proved that using a toothbrush designed to clean the tooth surface, which is smooth and hard, compared to the tongue, is not that effective, but you can use toothbrushes that have a tongue cleaner on the other side,” Mozumdar told IANS.

He however felt a plastic scraper is better because if the metal one rusts, it can lead to infection.

Aikta Singh said if a metal cleaner was used, it should be changed every five months.

The other way to maintain the tongue’s hygiene is to use a mouthwash.

“Most of the bad odour is because of deposits on the tongue. At least 70 percent of such cases come to us. Use a mouthwash once a day to give some freshness.

“Most of the commercially available mouthwashes have an alcoholic content. It might dry your mouth a lot; so don’t overuse it. And go for a gentler one and not concentrated as the latter might stain the teeth and also burn the tongue tissues,” Mozumdar said.

Another simple way to fight bacteria is to rinse the mouth with saline water.

“Take a half glass of lukewarm water and pour a half teaspoon of salt in it. Rinse your mouth five to six times a day with it,” said Bassi.

If food can coat your tongue, various illnesses can also affect it.

Also Read: Children taught in mother tongue perform better: Study

According to Mozumdar, there is a connection between oral and general health.

“When you have anaemia, small projections of the tongue are lost over a period of time and it becomes smooth and red, so you might have burning sensation when you eat spicy food. Prolonged illness will also have an effect on the oral system,” he said.

Even fever can affect the tongue.

“When you have high fever, a white layer gets formed on the top of the tongue. It can be removed by regular cleanup, but if that can’t be done, it’s a fungal infection. There are ointments for such cases,” Bassi told IANS.

Aikta Singh says that sometimes, dehydration can be related to a coloured tongue. (IANS)

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Women Hit Especially Hard In Congo’s Worst Ebola Outbreak

For the afflicted, the road to recovery is long and lonely.

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Ebola, WHO, UNICEF, congo, Uganda, women
Congolese health workers register people and take their temperatures before they are vaccinated against Ebola in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the throes of its worst-ever Ebola outbreak, with more than 420 cases in the country’s volatile east, and a mortality rate of just under 60 percent. But this outbreak — the nation’s tenth known Ebola epidemic — is unusual because more than 60 percent of patients are women.

Among them is Baby Benedicte. Her short life has already been unimaginably difficult.

At one month old, she is underweight, at 2.9 kilograms. And she is alone. Her mother had Ebola, and died giving birth to her. She’s spent the last three weeks of her life in a plastic isolation cube, cut off from most human contact. She developed a fever at eight days old and was transferred to this hospital in Beni, a town of some half-million people in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than 400 people have been diagnosed with Ebola here since the beginning of August, and more than half of them have died in a nation the size of Western Europe that struggles with insecurity and a lack of the most basic infrastructure and services. That makes this the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history, after the hemorrhagic fever killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.

This is 10th outbreak to strike the vast country since 1976, when Ebola was first identified in Congo. And this particular outbreak is further complicated by a simmering civil conflict that has plagued this region for more than two decades.

Guido Cornale, UNICEF’s coordinator in the region, says the scope of this outbreak is clear.

“It has become the worst outbreak in Congo, this is not a mystery,” he said.

What is mysterious, however, is the demographics of this outbreak. This time, more than 60 percent of cases are women, says the government’s regional health coordinator, Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe.

“All the analyses show that this epidemic is feminized. Figures like this are alarming. It’s true that the female cases are more numerous than the male cases,” he said.

Congo, Uganda, ebola, Women
Health workers walk with a boy suspected of having been infected with the Ebola virus, at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, near Congo’s border with Uganda. VOA

Bathe declined to predict when the outbreak might end, though international officials have said it may last another six months. Epidemiologists are still studying why this epidemic is so skewed toward women and children, Cornale said.

“So now we can only guess. And one of the guesses is that woman are the caretakers of sick people at home. So if a family member got sick, who is taking care of him or her? Normally, a woman,” he said.

Or a nurse. Many of those affected are health workers, who are on the front line of battling this epidemic. Nurse Guilaine Mulindwa Masika, spent 16 days in care after a patient transmitted the virus to her. She says it was the fight of her life.

“The pain was enormous, the pain was constant,” she said. “The headache, the diarrhea, the vomiting, and the weakness — it was very, very bad.”

Congo, Ebola, Women
Marie-Roseline Darnycka Belizaire, World Health Organization (WHO) Epidemiology Team Lead, talks to women as part of Ebola contact tracing, in Mangina, Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

For the afflicted, the road to recovery is long and lonely. Masika and her cured colleagues face weeks of leave from work to ensure the risk of infection is gone. In the main hospital in the city of Beni, families who have recovered live together in a large white tent, kept four meters from human contact by a bright orange plastic cordon. They yell hello at their caretakers, who must don protective gear if they want to get any closer.

And for Baby Benedicte, who is tended to constantly by a nurse covered head to toe in protective gear, the future is uncertain. Medical workers aren’t entirely sure where her father is, or if he is going to come for her.

Also Read: Congo Start Trials For Drugs Against Ebola

She sleeps most of the day, the nurse says, untroubled by the goings-on around her. Meanwhile, the death toll rises. (VOA)