The last bite (March)

03 March 2022
2 min read

Over there
The current dire state of NHS dentistry is reflected daily in newspaper and other media stories about how patients in many parts of the UK are finding it difficult to get an appointment. It has prompted MPs from all parties to ask questions in Westminster to bring it to the government’s attention.

One recurring theme has been to allow in more dentists from other countries, especially now that we have left the EU, to boost the number who might work under the widely discredited UDA contract. One such vocal proponent is Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely who has told parliament it is “almost impossible to find an NHS dentist here” and suggested that the problem could be eased by permitting the influx of dentists from “overseas”. I know I’m being pedantic but, since there is no dental school on the Isle of Wight, surely every dentist practising there is from ‘overseas’. Just saying.

What’s in a word?
The raw materials that we use for whatever livelihood we engage in are important and for me, as a wordsmith, this includes words themselves. A webservice sends me a daily word for information or inspiration which may be one that I already know or in the recent cases of ‘parure’ (a set of jewels intended to be worn together) or ‘fardel’ (a bundle) some that I didn’t. One which popped up was ‘occlude’ with the slightly surprising definition of ‘stop, close up, or obstruct (an opening, orifice, or passage)’.

I confess I had always thought of occlude or occlusion as a coming together (as of teeth and jaws) rather than of stopping or blocking, although on reflection I guess they are roughly the same thing. Certainly, specialists in occlusal equilibration would see the aim of their ministration to be an opening up rather than a closing down of function.

Another word which grabbed my attention as it floated across my screen from a different source was the title of a dental event to be held in Houston later this year – Smilecon. I assume it to be a fusion of smile and convention, or congress, or even conservation but ‘con’ can have a slightly different, Del Boy nuance, don’t you think?

Sweet or dry?
It now seems that consuming two glasses of wine could reach the daily recommended adult sugar allowance (30g). Really, is nothing sacred? Apparently, some bottles can contain up to 59g and the analysis found that lower-strength wines were among those containing the most sugar, meaning they were not necessarily a healthy choice, despite their lower alcohol content.

This came hot on the heels of news that amongst London boroughs, Barking and Dagenham has seen the highest rate of fillings performed in the city, with the second worst being Haringey (ranked 44th nationally). There is no further epidemiological information but I do now wonder if the two areas are worth scouting out for wine bars?