Are we moving in the right direction?Featured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 14th September 2021
So often when we look at the news these days it’s constant doom and gloom. It seems that all the good news from the past year or so has been heavily overshadowed by the pandemic, meaning that whenever we turn on our televisions or browse the latest headlines, we’re met by a deluge of doom that leaves little space for hope.
But what about the positive steps forward we’ve taken as an industry? As well as weathering the pandemic and continuing to provide patients with an exceptional level of care throughout, there are a number of pieces of good news that have emerged in recent weeks that we should be celebrating.
Good habits seem to be sticking
A recent survey carried out by the Oral Health Foundation found that brushing teeth is the number one thing that the majority of British people can’t imagine going a day without doing.[i] This means that maintaining oral hygiene beat out other important daily rituals such as having a shower and eating breakfast. This is a huge step forwards, as it shows that the British public are valuing their oral health and making it a top priority on a daily basis.
Even better, the same research showed that at least 97% of UK individuals are brushing their teeth at least once a day. While we, of course, strive to make this two times a day with interdental cleaning, these statistics are still promising, showing that for the vast majority of people, oral health habits are sticking.
The implications of this are endless, but one thing we can infer from this data is that there is definitely the foundation for a brighter oral health future in place. By encouraging patients to continue to exercise good oral hygiene routines at home, eventually we may be able to get this statistic up so that the vast majority of people brush their teeth at least twice a day, creating a better standard of general oral health.
Ban the junk!
Another step forward we’ve taken, not just in regards to oral health but also in general health, is a new proposition that will see adverts for junk food banned from air between 5.30am to 9pm starting from 2023.[ii]Granted, you could argue that these adverts are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unhealthy diets and the obesity problem we are experiencing in the UK, but the fact that the government is taking measures is still a positive sign.
Obesity is rife in the UK, with over 63% of adults falling into this weight category.[iii] Plus, 10% of children are already counted as obese by reception age (4-5).[iv] These worrying statistics are not only a concern because of the health implications that accompany obesity, but also in regards to oral health. Junk food is inevitably full of sugar and other ingredients that are bad news for dentition, so by banning these adverts until after the watershed, this could go some way towards preventing impressionable watchers such as children from craving these foods.
Of course, this is not a be all and end all solution, but what this government move does suggest is that we, as a nation, are becoming more health conscious – which can only be a good thing!
New technology continues to take us forward
As ever, the constant evolution and introduction of new tech in the industry is something to be celebrated. It seems that every month there are new innovations and discoveries that are set to revolutionise how we treat patients in the future.
For example, I recently came across an article detailing how researchers at the University of Washington have developed a way to use smartphone images to identify potentially harmful bacteria in the oral cavity.[v] This low-cost and instant method could very well be the adjunct that patients need in order to better understand the microbiome of the oral cavity and to see when they need to pay better attention to their oral hygiene. As smartphone usage is so widespread these days, this is the sort of innovation that could instantly benefit millions of people!
Moving forward to a better time
In the end, the misery we see on the news shouldn’t be all-consuming, and there are lots of exciting steps forward being taken by the UK and the dental industry as a whole. By encouraging these changes and embracing the positives, we can continue to move forward and realise that dentistry and oral health in the UK is definitely moving in the right direction.
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[i] Oral Health Foundation. Brits Cast Their Vote On The One Thing They Could Not Go A Day Without. Link: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/brits-cast-their-vote-on-the-one-thing-they-could-not-go-a-day-without [Last accessed June 21].
[ii] Dentistry. Junk Food TV Adverts Banned From 2023. Link: https://dentistry.co.uk/2021/06/24/junk-food-tv-adverts-banned-2023/ [Last accessed June 21].
[iii] Cancer Research UK. Overweight and Obesity Statistics. Link: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/overweight-and-obesity#:~:text=63%25%20of%20UK%20adults%20(aged,in%20males%20compared%20with%20females. [Last accessed June 21].
[iv] UK Parliament. Obesity Statistics. Link: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn03336/ [Last accessed June 21].
[v] UW News. Smartphone Camera Can Illuminate Bacteria Causing Acne, Dental Plaques. Link: https://www.washington.edu/news/2021/06/11/smartphone-dental-plaques/ [Last accessed June 21].
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