image credit: BBC
Welcome to this week’s newsletter. Don’t forget, only 7 days now until Clinical Innovations 2015. Featuring expert speakers like Chris Barrow, Bob McLelland and Jansie van Rensburg, it’s sure to be an excellent few days looking at the most exciting innovations within dentistry, today. You can find more info here.
So, did you see it? UK dentistry was thrust straight onto prime time TV screens last night as BBC 1 premiered the first of its two part series called “The Truth About Your Teeth”. A two part series looking at the nation’s teeth is certainly something to shout about. It certainly was refreshing to see someone even begin to address issues that should be made a higher priority in our nation’s wider discussions on health.
But was it accurate? Was it relevant? Was it even any good?
If you watched last night’s show expecting to learn something new, then you may have been quite let down. “The best way to take care of your teeth is to brush thoroughly for 2 minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste?” “Those over the counter teeth whitening products don’t work?” “Gluing your teeth back in probably isn’t the best idea?”
However, many aspects of the show were very positive. Ably presented by Dr Chris van Tulleken and Jasmine Harman, the show took us through some of the main issues surrounding how we take care of our teeth alongside some, admittedly painful to watch, case studies of people with severe dental problems. What was particularly refreshing though… was its representation of dentistry as a profession.
Taking some quite terrified patients and showing them, and the viewer, how visiting the dentist means visiting a professional, scientific environment with nice people who have the ability to completely change how you feel about yourself. It showed how the common fear of the dentist is outdated when compared with how things are done today. It presented dentistry in a quite a positive light and not the “scary dentist” of old. Highlighting their professionalism as well as their humanity, one particular highlight was the laughter of dentist Serpil Djemal as one very clumsy, young patient blundered his way out the door of the practice, surely to do more damage to his teeth in some innocuous incident at some later date.
From the public’s perspective it also did quite a good job at convincing people that dentistry is rapidly evolving but in a clear, scientifically driven direction. Making it clear that the best way to look after your teeth is to brush twice a day for two minutes, they also spent quite a bit of time undermining the efficacy of common over the counter whitening treatments.
What will stick in the mind of many viewers, however, will be the extreme cases of horrendous dental issues portrayed in the programme. From the woman who glued her teeth back in, the young man who drank 24 cans of energy drink a day to the woman whose front teeth constantly wobbled. Making the case that our smile determines how we’re viewed by many, these people underwent extensive repair work and were delighted with the results.
So, all in all, a good start! I eagerly look forward to next week’s episode. It may have told us many things that we already know but it’s certainly so refreshing to see oral health be put so high on the agenda, even for two nights of the year, on national television. I can also say this with absolute certainty. Everyone in this writer’s household, brushed for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste immediately after the credits rolled on last night’s show.
So, what did you think? Did the show address issues that were relevant to UK dentistry? What would you like to see next week? Comment below or send us your thoughts here