How many of us ignore the mild ache in the gums or twinge in the jaw? In our busy lives – who has the time to drop everything and go to the dentist for every little twitch?
And that is for those of us who have the time to visit dentists regularly. What about those who cannot?
This is a topic few of us actively consider during our day – how do those who must work at all hours to make a living find time to ensure good dental hygiene?
This is especially serious since early prevention is exceptionally better than the cure at a later date.
One such time-crunched group, little considered about though tens of thousands of us interact with them on a daily basis, are cab drivers.
Whether it is peak rush hour at 9 am, or even the empty streets of 3 am when most of us are asleep, cab drivers are unceasingly driving through city neighbourhoods and dropping passengers, day in and day out.
Naturally, working a packed job means they frequently eat on the go, with road-side fast food being their usual option. It is little wonder then that taxi drivers usually fall prey to health issues.
There is also the ever-present fear of losing out on work. Hence, healthcare is given the least priority, and oral hygiene and dental health are usually neglected among them all.
This is especially unfortunate since having an on-the-go job also puts them at risk of developing unhealthy habits to pass the time – like the constant chewing of tobacco or smoking.
A study involving some 450 taxi drivers in Bengaluru showed that nearly 70.88% of cab drivers consumed tobacco in some form or the other. This is hugely damaging to teeth, gums and oral health in general.
Sadly, like most of us, even when cab drivers develop dental issues, they don’t visit a dentist until they absolutely have to – with bleeding gums, ulcers, stained and fractured teeth or the worst – oral cancer.
So is there anything we can do about it?
Well, Colgate decided to do something about this little-addressed issue and has taken up a unique initiative – free dental check-ups at taxi stands in airports.
At such workshops, taxi drivers are made aware of dental health and are informed of the steps they need to take to tackle any concerns they find. The dentists present also encouraged and educated drivers on proper oral hygiene practices.
And it does seem to have had a substantial impact on them. For example, one driver even said that he would keep a tube of toothpaste in his taxi, and ensure that he brushed twice a day.
Check out the video below, showcasing one of those initiatives from the Mumbai Airport Terminal 2. In the video drivers speak out about the habits and why they have picked them up while admitting one commonality among them all – they didn’t maintain proper dental hygiene, and oral healthcare was the last thing on their mind.
Happily, once they met dentists, their views changed!