Dr. Rubine Soundararajan, MDS, Tamilnadu Government Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, India
Dr. Rubine Soundararajan, MDS, Tamilnadu Government Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, India

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan Weighs In: Balancing Sweet Treats & Oral Health

Dr. Rubine balances her roles as she expertly manages her passion for baking with her professional expertise in periodontology

Dr. Nirainila Joseph of MedBound Times had the pleasure of engaging in a thought-provoking conversation with Dr. Rubine Soundararajan, a distinguished periodontist, in the of "Docscopy" series.

Dr. Rubine's path in dentistry began at Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital (TNGDC), Chennai, India where she completed both her Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) degrees.

As a practicing periodontist, Dr. Rubine is deeply committed to improving periodontal health, raising awareness among people about its importance, and performing intricate procedures to help patients maintain optimal oral health.

In addition to her dental career, Dr. Rubine has a flourishing baking business, a passion she has nurtured since childhood. She speaks about her self-taught experience in baking, the variety of desserts she creates, and offers insights into healthy dessert options. She also discusses how to balance enjoying sweets with maintaining good oral health.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: To start, can you give a brief introduction about yourself to our readers? 

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: I’m Dr. Rubine Soundararajan, MDS who graduated from Tamilnadu Government Dental College and Hospital, Chennai. I’m a periodontist by profession and a passionate self-learnt home baker.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Wow! That's an interesting combo of profession and passion. First, let's talk about your dental specialty. Can you explain what periodontics is and why it is important?

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: Periodontics is the specialty that deals with tooth-supporting structures like gingiva, alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, and cementum. Periodontal health is the basement and health of supporting tissues are important for the tooth to function, it is needed to prevent gingival disease and to maintain oral health

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: What initially drew you to the field of periodontics?  What are some of the most common procedures you perform? What aspects of it do you find most rewarding?

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: My interest in regenerative surgical procedures and implants drew me into this field. The common procedures that I perform are Scaling and Root Planing (SRP), flap surgery, and regenerative surgical procedures such as guided tissue regeneration with Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF), Concentrated Growth Factor (CGF) & bone grafts, and implant procedures. I feel the success of bone regeneration procedure to be most rewarding

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Given your expertise in performing intricate periodontal procedures, what are some of the most significant advancements in periodontal care that you've witnessed during your career?  

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: Guided tissue regeneration with growth factors to restore the lost bone and tissue around the tooth, Laser assisted periodontal therapy with less discomfort to the patient, host modulation therapy with low dose doxycycline, local drug delivery system into periodontal pockets and minimally invasive surgical procedures.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: From your answer, I gather that recent advancements have significantly improved periodontal treatment for patients. But, how would you assess the general public's awareness of periodontal health? What are some common misconceptions people have about periodontal disease? 

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: The public basically doesn’t have awareness about what is periodontal health and they are not educated about the right brushing technique and proper oral hygiene measures. They don’t visit the dentist unless they experience pain in the teeth. Misconceptions are they think having calculus in teeth and bleeding gums is normal with age and it is irreversible. Also, many people think once they notice a mobile tooth it cannot be saved. As periodontal disease is painless, they postpone addressing it in the early stage and approach us when it is in the moderate to advanced stage.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: With many people unaware of the importance of periodontal health, what preventive measures can people take to avoid periodontal disease?

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: The preventive measures for periodontal issues are regular dental checkup once in 6 months, following proper oral hygiene measures, having balanced diet rich in vitamins especially vitamin C, and minerals, limiting carbonated drinks and sugary foods, avoiding alcohol consumption, smoking and consuming tobacco products, reducing stress, regular body exercise and staying hydrated.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Let's shift gears and talk about your successful baking business. When did your passion for baking begin?  What are some of your earliest memories related to baking? What is it about baking that you find enjoyable or relaxing? 

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: I have been interested in baking since my school days and am a self-taught baker. I have tried various recipes that I noted down from books or TV shows when my mom bought a small stovetop oven. Many attempts were flops in those days, but my interest towards learning didn't stop. My earliest memories in my school time are of burnt, smoky cakes from my early days of baking. I used to overload the tray, causing the cake to spill over the sides like a fountain. During that time, I would try to make spongy cakes, only to end up with some sweet that hardened upon cooling.

Later, through many trial and error sessions and with the help of You Tube, I learnt proper baking techniques and got successful over the years. I love to bake, and the aroma from my oven makes me more relaxed. I enjoy doing it on my own for my family. I try out different recipes and when I get fantastic output, I feel so happy and energetic and it creates adrenaline rush to explore more.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Have you taken any professional baking courses or honed your skills through workshops or online resources beyond self-teaching?  How do you stay up-to-date on current baking trends or new flavor combinations?

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: I haven't attended any professional baking courses. I learn new recipes from chefs who post on You Tube, and I make a few modifications based on my experience. I also explore many desserts from famous outlets, then research the recipes in Google and give them a try.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: Your journey from those early baking experiments in school to becoming a skilled and passionate baker today is truly remarkable. Now, we would love to hear about some of your favorite desserts to bake and which ones your customers enjoy the most?

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: My favorite desserts are brownies, tres leches cakes and googy cookies. My top selling desserts are brownies at the top especially millet jaggery brownies, choco overload cakes and choco almond cookies.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: That's great! So, does your baking passion ever inspire you to create healthier dessert options that might appeal to patients who are concerned about oral health and general well-being? 

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: In the beginning, I tried authentic recipes. Nowadays, I mix it up with healthier options, such as substituting flour with millets and nut powders, and replacing sugar with natural sweeteners like banana, apple, or honey. I also make energy bars without sweeteners for healthy snacking.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: I'm curious, as someone who navigates two different roles with skill, have you found that your work as a periodontist has influenced your baking in any way?

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: I feel both are technique sensitive lol.

Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: That was an unexpected yet insightful parallel between your two roles! As a dentist, you often would advise patients to reduce their consumption of sweets to maintain oral health. I'm eager to hear how you manage the advice you give on limiting sweets with your own passion for baking. What tips do you give to your patients about enjoying desserts without compromising their dental health?

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: I would recommend patients to follow regular oral hygiene practices without fail. Moderation is key when consuming sweets; having dessert along with a meal results in lower sweet intake compared to having it in a bowl separately before or after the meal. It's advisable to avoid sticky sweets and opt for less sugary items or healthy desserts. Cravings should be satisfied with a small piece of dessert, no more than that. Following these key steps allows for moderate dessert consumption once a week. It's important to never forget to follow the oral hygiene measures after enjoying the dessert.

According to Dr. Rubine Soundararajan, t's important to never forget to follow the oral hygiene measures after enjoying the dessert. (Representational image: Unsplash)
According to Dr. Rubine Soundararajan, t's important to never forget to follow the oral hygiene measures after enjoying the dessert. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Q

Dr. Nirainila Joseph: That's fantastic advice, especially for those with a sweet tooth! Thank you for sharing your insights during this interview. Before we conclude, I have one final question for you. I admire how you juggle your dual roles. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance while pursuing both your dental career and your love for baking?

A

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan: I'm a fitness freak and do regular workouts early in the morning, which leaves me feeling refreshed, healthy, and energized to balance both my career and baking. This motivation drives me to bring out many healthy desserts to satisfy our cravings. Also, my family, especially my husband, is the pillar of support, encouraging me to pursue both my profession and passion.

MedBound Times expresses sincere gratitude to Dr. Rubine Soundararajan for sharing her valuable insights on our platform.

Dr. Rubine Soundararajan, MDS, Tamilnadu Government Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, India
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