“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”
Here is today’s piece from The Guardian about the the UK government’s “Childhood Obesity Strategy”.
The BBC joins in and says, it’s weak and watered down.
In April this year I stuck my head above the parapet and said I was not in favour of a sugar tax. I thought it was far too little and doubted the UK government’s commitment. Here’s the piece in Dentistry.
Because I dared swim against the perceived tide, I wanted to tax sugar, all sugar, where it comes into the food chain and not at the retailer, I have been contacted on several occasions by food industry lobbyists who wanted me to put my name to letters against the “sugar tax”. I was left in little doubt how strong and broad ranging these groups are. I declined any and all offers.
I committed much of my clinical career to prevention and the control of diseases, especially in the young, I take no pleasure in thinking, “I told you so”.
….Why be specific about drinks? Dentists have advocated a tax on confectionary for decades. We know that many confectionary sales are an impulse in response to advertising. Deal with that and get rid of sweets at checkouts and petrol stations.
Why not tax it in the supply chain with a levy on all sugar containing food ingredients? Tax sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate and other added sugars at the point where they’re manufactured or imported, essentially taxing everything with added sugar, at a level appropriate to its sugar content.
Amongst the acolytes for a sugar tax is Jamie Oliver, whose recipe for “Scrumptious sticky toffee pudding” contains nearly 2lb of sugar. Shouldn’t the BBC be made to give public health warnings with every episode of The Great British Bake Off?…
…The belief that a tax will automatically lead to a reduction in obesity and related diseases is far too simplistic in my opinion. It will take other measures including the elimination of marketing and advertising of other junk foods. Above all it will take Government will to confront the food industry and to promote change in the hearts and minds of the country and with so many lobbyists and vested interests that’s not going to happen soon.
In the meantime dentists would be best advised to walk the talk, to limit their own intake, step up their patient education so it’s about general and dental health and vote for a government with a genuine commitment to health.”
The world woke to the smell of burning floss last week, as thunderous applause met news reports that there was, after all, no evidence for dentists recommending flossing. A lot of people, it seems, hate to floss. Some would rather clean a toilet.
But don’t throw out all those spools of waxed dental tape just yet.
It’s true that in response to an investigation by the Associated Press (AP) the US government “acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched.” It’s also true that the latest US government-issued Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in June did not include advice to floss every day—a staple of dental advice all over the world and, according to AP, a standard recommendation since 1979.
What isn’t true is that science has proven flossing is bad, or that it does nothing for the health of your teeth and gums. According to the rumor-debunking website Snopes, what’s been missed by the mass media is the underlying problem: evaluating the impact of flossing on health is nearly impossible, and that means the government can’t in good conscience recommend it—even if almost all dental health experts believe flossing works.
Dentists have seen it with their own eyes: people who floss have healthier gums, because it helps get rid of gunk and bacterial build-ups that could cause problems later. Buts right now all we have is the anecdotal evidence of experience and not proper scientific proof. At least not to the extent required by the Institutional Review Boards that makes the decisions around official government-issued health advice.
Government health recommendations have to be based on scientific evidence, and the studies that supply such evidence have to meet the rules of the Board. Primarily, the Board requires successful clinical trials comparing one group of people given a treatment—in this case, flossing—with another “control” group who are given nothing. You then see if the treatment really does have an effect on what you’re studying—in this case, gum health.
But to properly evaluate flossing, you’d need a group of people to not floss for a pretty long time, possibly several years. That’s not really ethical nor is it particularly scientifically sound since there’s no way to control for dozens of other variables that could compromise the results. For instance, if you are telling a group not to floss, they might feel compelled to brush for longer to keep better oral hygiene.
There’s another problem. Trials aren’t conducted with Big Brother-style 24/7 surveillance, they’re done through check ups and surveys. But people are known to lie about their flossing habits. Scientists have to trust what the study participants tell them, and have no idea how often or to what extent people really are or are not flossing.
It’s no surprise then, that the scientific evidence for flossing has been found wanting. A thorough 2011 Cochrane review concluded that, while they couldn’t say there was evidence to support flossing that met proper scientific standards, “flossing is an effective adjunct to toothbrushing, as the important benefits outweigh any potential harms.”
It’s true, there is no evidence from clinical trials that proves flossing works. But just because the US government can’t in good conscience recommend it in official guidelines, that doesn’t mean flossing is useless.
Dr Sandeep Senghera is the founder of ToothPick.com which is now under the umbrella of WhatClinic.com giving him responsibility for their Dental operations worldwide. A persuasive and passionate speaker, he obviously believes completely in technology being at the front of dental customer service – and after a couple of hours in his company I can’t disagree!
You can find out more about WhatClinic.com by calling Karen Doyle on 02033899445 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. “I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.
What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?