40 Years On…………….

September 1979 and The Police are at number one with “Message in a Bottle”. A young, fresh faced 19 year old version of me left Liverpool to begin university, studying Dentistry at the London Hospital Medical College and ready to embrace all the new knowledge about to come along.

So much has changed and yet so much as remained the same.

Back then rumours abounded that a vaccine was being developed against tooth decay causing organisms in the mouth. Fillings would become a thing of the past. Dentists would be out of work as tooth decay would cease to exist. Still waiting……….

Other sensational breakthroughs that have yet to happen include growing teeth in laboratories that can be placed into patients’ mouths without fear of rejection because they had been grown from that patient’s stem cells. Sounds great but still waiting………….

How about lasers replacing drills that don’t require any anaesthesia or solutions that dissolve away dental decay, again without the need for dental anaesthesia? Don’t hold your breath!

Then onto this weekend’s front page news – “Farewell to Fillings as Scientists find a way to Regrow Tooth Enamel”

Apparently in China some clever boffins have managed to create dental alchemy by mixing calcium and phosphate (minerals found in enamel) in an alcohol solution that causes enamel to grow and it has the same structure as teeth. This mix can be applied to teeth which will help remineralisation and could be an effective cure for enamel erosion. Time scale for this being available to successfully grow back a tooth? 10-20 years according to Prof Damien Walmsley of the British Dental Association.

Forgive me for being an old cynic but we’ll see………………………

In the meantime, if you want a healthy dentition

* Don’t have sugary snacks or drinks between meals

* Use Fluoride toothpaste and don’t rinse after use

* Brush thoroughly twice a day and use some form of interdental cleaning too – floss or tepees

* See your dental professional regularly based on your risk of disease

* Don’t believe everything you read in the papers

So although The Police and The London Hospital Medical College have long since disappeared, I’m still around – older, I’d like to think wiser and definitely more cynical!