The nation of Chile is celebrating the rescue of the 33 miners who were trapped underground following a cave in. While people are rejoicing, they may not be aware the miners may still face significant health challenges in the weeks and months ahead.
For example, CBS News recently reported that many of the rescued miners were found to have gingivitis. Spending two months underground with no means of dental care products made it impossible for the men to practice good oral hygiene.
Gingivitis is common among people who do not regularly brush their teeth or rinse with antibacterial mouthwash. Microbes in the mouth can accumulate around the gums and cause inflammation. If it is left untreated, it can cause painful sores and eventually result in the loss of teeth.
"The work is just beginning when the miners get out of the mine," Dr. Michael Duncan, deputy chief medical officer at Johnson Space Center, told CNN.
While two months beneath the ground may have harmed the miners' oral health, gingivitis can be cured with dental treatments and extra attention to oral hygiene.