16th September 2015

Some Thoughts on Dental Health

Dental check today with the new dentist. My previous one retired in the summer and I made a point of going to his farewell open day to tell him that he was being very inconsiderate to retire after 30+ years. I also picked up a small sample tube of toothpaste, handy for taking through airports. The new man, Dr. M., is a worthy successor to Mr. G who fixed me up with trouble-free crowns to replace my crumbling molars (and premolars). Many people are still anxious about visiting a dentist, probably because of unpleasant and painful childhood memories.
Our dentist was called Mr. Robinson and his pracice was in Park Lane, Macclesfield. The approach of the six-month check-up caused increasing dread, reaching its climax in the waiting room as Mr. R. was always at least half an hour behind in his schedule. The fashion for removing all a young person’s teeth and replacing them with a nice set of NHS “piano keys” (a popular 21st birhtday present apparently), had given way to enthusiastic drilling, even when patients were conscientious in the use of the toothbrush. It was amazing how much work was needed even after a six-month interval and all without the use of pain relief. Added to that, denistry in the 1950s seemed to have attracted the most irritable and sadistic characters. Were they specially selected or was a life of inflicting pain to blame? I only once protested and was reprimanded in no uncertain terms; I never dared do it again! The 1960s brought a welcome change. Word went round that the new young dentist, Mr. H. was actually concerned about not hurting patients and would offer a shot of pain relief. Soon his appointment book was full to over-flowing.
The life expectancy of the UK population continues to rise and there many reasons contributing to this welcome news, not least the Food Office orange juice and cod liver oil our generation were given. And, unlike our parents, most of us have kept our teeth – a triumph of modern dentistry. This means that we can chew our food thoroughly and digest it more efficiently, so there is no need to daily recourse to the Milk of Magnesia, senna pods, Bile Beans etc. Better nutrition leads to better health and fewer mouth infections means better circulation. So…. we can hang around for a long time annoying our grandchildren by pretending to be deaf.