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How far would you go to avoid sitting in the dreaded dentist chair?
By Sophie Webb
Well, thousands of us tuned in to BBC1 last week as we were told the story of a 48 year old woman who had not been to the dentist in over a decade due to her fear. ‘The Truth About Your Teeth’  is a two-part documentary which follows the lives of some ordinary people with some extraordinary dental problems.
Angie Barlow’s odontophobia (fear of going to the dentist) stemmed from losing her mother to throat cancer, when she was a child, which was diagnosed following a tooth extraction. Angie’s dental condition had reached a point that she resorted to using superglue to fix her loose front teeth back in place. After plucking up the courage to be seen by dentists at Kings College Hospital in London, she was told that she had 90% bone loss in her upper jaw, resulting in the need for all her upper teeth, and some lower teeth, to be extracted.
However, Angie is not alone. Research suggests that approximately 5 million people in the UK have not been to the dentist in the last 10 years. Whether this is as a result of phobia, cost or just laziness, the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth erosion is significantly increased in these people.
The programme is aptly broadcast midway through the UK’s largest oral health campaign, National Smile Month.
Running from, 18 May 2015 to 18 June 2015, National Smile Month celebrates its 39th year of aiming to improve oral health throughout the UK by promoting 3 keys messages:
1. Brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
2. Reducing the amount of sugary food and drink in your diet
3. Visiting your dentist regularly
The British Dental Health Foundation is the registered charity that organises the annual campaign. With activities up and down the country for everyone from dental practitioners to schools to enjoy, including expert talks, fun days and Smileathons, the messages have been estimated to reach an amazing 60 million people.
To find activities in your area and support National Smile Month, please visit their website.
The Dental Negligence Team is proud to support National Smile Month as it spreads its important messages of maintaining oral health through the country.
It is important that dentists assist patients in maintaining healthy teeth and good oral health, and provide adequate treatment in the event of decay. If you have suffered from dental problems which were not diagnosed by your dentist, or have received inadequate treatment for decay, then do not hesitate to contact the Dental Negligence Team who will be happy to assist you and advise you on the prospects of bringing a dental negligence claim.
By following the guidance of the British Dental Health Foundation, and doing all you can to prevent decay and maintain good oral health, you can take responsibility to prevent avoidable losses when it comes to any potential dental negligence claim you may bring. Research suggests that visiting the dentist just once a year reduces the risk of tooth decay by 60%. The Truth About Teeth, Part 1 – BBC1 – Part 2 showing on BBC1 at 9pm on Thursday 11 June 2015.