Root Canal Specialist London
These days, if you flick through the national press looking for news about dentistry, you’ll most likely find nothing but vitriol. Indeed, the media seems to enjoy lambasting our profession for almost anything.
Of course, while this is never pleasant reading, I do think it is indicative of a larger issue – especially when you consider how often sugar is being mentioned in the news at the moment.
NHS England, for example, is considering banning sugary drinks from their hospitals; new research suggests that consuming more than two sugary drinks a day will greatly increase the risk of diabetes, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has implored governments around the globe to tax sugary drinks to combat obesity.
There can be no denying that this is all positive news. In our profession, understand the long-term effects of sugar on our teeth. Indeed, dental caries – which is demonstrably linked to sugar intake – is one of the most prevalent oral health issues in the UK. It is the most common reason children under the age of five being sent to hospital for a general anaesthetic. What’s more, there is a clear link between sugar and diabetes and diabetes-systemic problems including more infections, periodontal disease and, consequently, heart disease. As such, a tax on sugar – a targeted attempt to reduce the sugar consumption in this country – can only be welcomed by the profession with open arms.
But these stories never seem to mention dentists or what they think about the risks of sugar, or even the great work they are doing to help prevent some of its nastier effects.
Now, diabetes, obesity – these are all very serious issues. But so is dental caries. According to WHO, approximately 39% of the world’s population is affected by this disease – that’s about 2.4 billion people – but it is severely underreported in the national press. In fact, dental health concerns in general are being, if not outright ignored, then given less coverage than they truly deserve.
Indeed, the lack of coverage is perhaps indicative of the disregard with which the UK population – and the government and media – sees dentistry. Other health issues are seemingly more important and, thus, take the headlines. We know for a fact that dentistry is irrevocably linked with so many different health issues and this needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
It seems as though dentistry is somewhat disconnected from the rest of the healthcare world. You’re more likely to see a story about some obscure celebrity and their new veneers than a well reasoned article about the fundamental work dentists are doing. In terms of the sugar tax, dentists should be at the forefront of the argument – we have the expertise and the experience to weigh in with legitimate and useful information, but we’re not doing so.
We also have a responsibility to inform patients about the effects of sugar and the importance of regular check ups and, indeed, advances in modern dentistry that will help them – and the national press is the best platform for us to do so. It’s no good simply discussing it amongst ourselves (which we are very good at doing) or just speaking up when a negative story hit the press (which happens too often). We need to get the message out the UK dentistry is doing great things – we have incredibly skilled and knowledgeable professionals who are often at the forefront of their respective fields and have great deal to offer.
Root Canal Specialist London
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