Meeting Singapore’s modern day Tooth Fairy
The Pass It On series is an interview segment where BioMark sits down with trail blazers who have striven to make health and wellness work for them on their own terms. We hope this inspires you to find the best fit for yourself, too.
One of Singapore’s leading dentists, Dr Surinder Arora graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and passed the MFDS examination with the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. Additionally, she has also worked in multiple UK hospitals under oral surgery and restorative dentistry faculties and was involved with the British Dental Association. Dr Surinder is currently based in private practice in Singapore and is also part of the Oral Health Awareness and Ethics Committees of the Singapore Dental Association.
BioMark: Hello Dr Surinder! Thank you for taking some time out of your schedule to speak to us. You used to be based in the United Kingom (UK), working for the NHS as well as in the field of private practice. However you decided to give all that up and come to Singapore, where you’ve made your mark as the Vice President of the Singapore Dental Association’s Oral Health Awareness Committee. Do tell us more about yourself!
Dr Surinder (DS): That’s right, I was born and brought up in the UK. In 2011, I qualified as a dentist with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree and have since been exploring the realms of healthcare. Since qualifying, I have had various healthcare roles across the UK, as well as in Singapore.
BioMark: Well, I hope you’ve been enjoying Singapore so far! Can you share with us how your passion for healthcare was ignited and what led you to become a dentist?
DS: Well, when I was younger I did a lot of work experience before deciding what path to choose. My thinking at the time was that I’d like to have a job in healthcare where I can serve and help people. After all, without health we have nothing. It was then that I decided that dentistry was the way to go about doing that.
BioMark: It will soon be your 7th year as a qualified dentist. There is no doubt that the healthcare landscape is extremely vast and is constantly shifting. What changes or improvements do you think can be made?
DS: I have always believed that more attention should be placed on the prevention of dental and general ailments. There are certain elements that could be shifted and changed in order to incorporate more prevention techniques for patients. My belief applies not just to dentistry but also to healthcare in general. This thinking led to further training including as an integrative health coach. We wouldn’t put the wrong fuel in our car. Why do it to our body?
BioMark: As a dentist, what is your philosophy on how oral health relates to overall body health?
DS: I believe that this relationship is incredibly important. If you are referring to the impact of oral health on the rest of the body, an example is how sugar and bacteria affects our teeth. Together, sugar combined with bacteria produces dental plaque. This plaque sits on the tooth and starts to eat through the tooth resulting in dental decay. Plaque also contributes to gum disease as it sits around the edges of the gum. This leads to bleeding and later on, the gum drops back which can result in the loss of teeth.
Additionally, ulcers in the mouth could also be an indication of something wrong with the gut or could have something to do with nutritional deficiency. Dry mouth could also be an indicator of an autoimmune disease. Stress and diabetes also show up in the mouth.
Structurally, crooked teeth are actually a symptom of poor cranial facial growth and development. What that means is that when the facial structure of the skull and the jaw don’t develop properly, the teeth compensate with their positioning. We end up altering the position of our jaw and head so that we can breathe properly. This leads to problems in the spine and can actually feed down our body resulting in pronated feet and altered posture.
Our bodies are wonderful machines. As you can see there’s a huge link between the oral cavity and the rest of the body.
BioMark: That’s eye opening! What about the impact of our body’s general health on our teeth?
DS: So things in the body such as stress can definitely have an impact on our dental health. If stress is mounting up, it can present orally. But certainly, how we look after our teeth and what’s going on in our mouth can be a clear indication of our body’s overall health. If I’m eating a lot of sugar, then that’s going to show up in the mouth and surely will have an effect on our body.
BioMark: Before we wrap this segment up, why do you think people don’t place as high an importance on our dental health as we do on other parts of the body?
DS: Firstly, you can’t always see what’s going on in the mouth. Secondly, I think there’s an education aspect. People don’t prioritise that part of the body. I have some excellent patients coming in for prevention and a regular general assessment. However, a lot of the time, people come in because of pain or if they’ve chipped a tooth. Pain is never a good thing as getting to that stage can be completely prevented by regular check ups and following advice.
If your hand was bleeding, and the bleeding wasn’t stopping what would you do? Obviously, you would go to the doctor for medical assistance. However, when our gums bleed, people disregard it and don’t think it’s a big deal. What they don’t know is that it could be a serious issue and could result in them permanently losing their teeth! Who wants that?
This concludes the first segment of our interview with Dr Surinder Arora.
Interested for more? Why not sink your teeth into our next juicy interview with Dr Surinder, where we talk about the relationship between our dental health and our general health.
For more information, check out Dr Surinder’s page here.
You can also find her here.
Interested in what we’re talked about? Check out the Part 2 of our interview here.
Alternatively, reach out to us with suggestions on who you would like to hear from next.