Editor’s blog

Welcome one and all to the new website, and the first of the weekly Editor’s blogs; this week I’ll be taking a look at the tooth whitening issue and whether or not paying £10 for a licence to smoke is the right way to go.

We’ve had a busy time these past months I can tell you that. The PreventiveDentistry.co.uk team has been working so hard preparing for the launch and I want to be the first to congratulate them all. Several months of tireless work behind us and now the real fun begins, we’re finally here!

We thought long and hard on what the readers of Preventive Dentistry would want to see in a website and eventually, after consultation with members of the editorial board, we hit on the idea of starting an online community for all professionals working in preventive dentistry and oral health. So, as a registered user you will be able to actively comment on news stories and developments within the industry and in the forums take part in debates on a variety of subjects ranging from procedures to practice management with other professionals from across the country. Perhaps even the world!

The news story that caught my eye this week regards Health England and the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) welcoming a proposal by a government health advisory board to make smokers cough up for a £10 licence allowing them to smoke. The idea is that no one would be able to buy cigarettes without first buying a permit, and I would guess that if you lost it you would have to buy a new one meaning that an already expensive habit could get even more so.

It’s ideas like this that could seriously make a difference, but is there some argument for human rights violation. If someone wants to smoke, why should that require them to have a licence? Surely it’s their choice whether or not they smoke. However, on the other side of that argument is, now smoking is banned in public buildings for good, surely this is just the next step in the campaign for a smoke-free Britain. All I know is that some people need more incentive to stop smoking than others and maybe this is the way to go. The idea of carrying a ‘licence to smoke’ sobers my mind somewhat, I think if it ever gets to that I will be the first convert.

In other news there is the announcement of the GDC consulting on draft guidance on the scope of practice of all members of the dental team in regards to the tooth whitening issue. The GDC has set out proposals which could allow dental nurses, orthodontic therapists, dental hygienists, dental therapists, dental technicians and clinical dental technicians to carry out tooth whitening. The draft guidance – on which all dental professionals can comment – sets out the skills dentists and dental care professionals should have on qualification, extra skills they may gain during their careers and skills that are limited to certain groups.The guidance suggests tooth whitening is an additional skill dental care professionals can gain. But it makes it clear dentists should be involved in prescribing or supervising the treatment.

Now this can only be a good thing. With the first private practices established and run by hygienists already here in the UK it’s about time this issue was addressed properly. There are no doubt those who would say whitening is a cosmetic choice that is sort of irrelevant in the grand scheme of oral health. However, as a possible revenue stream, a way of encouraging passing trade into your practice? Is this what these new private practices are looking for? Time will tell, the hope is that the GDC take this matter to its sensible conclusion. What are your thoughts?

Anyway, enjoy the new site, and don’t forget to submit your entry articles for the Preventive Dentistry Article Awards.

Take care everyone, and I’ll see you next week.

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