From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 15 May

May 15, 2022 BY

Sickly sweet: Sugar is the silent killer and we have to work to remove it from our children’s diet. Image: SUPPLIED

When will Australian governments realise: bad teeth and poor oral hygiene are at the root of much serious illness.

THAT dental care is not part of Medicare is blatantly stupid – regardless of the cost! What you lose on the swings you pick-up on the roundabout.

There is no doubt: Poor oral health can impair your general health and well-being by creating, or exacerbating, health conditions such as heart and lung disease, stroke, or social anxiety and depression.

Lesser, but still serious side effects include difficulty swallowing and speaking, chronic pain, and loss of sleep.

My late father, Ginger, had the most beautiful teeth. A doctor in one of the shanty goldmining towns in which he and my mother lived made a catastrophic misdiagnosis. He convinced my father he had stomach ulcers and, too my mother’s absolute horror, all his teeth needed to be removed.  Furthermore, they needed to eat tripe, every day, for six-months. When, after three-months, my brother and sister complained, my mother was most unsympathetic. “Too bad,” she said. “What do you think, I am going to cook two different meals every day? If you don’t like it, go hungry!”

As it transpired, my father did not have an ulcer and there was no medical reason for his teeth to have been extracted.

The time has come in this country for dental care to be an integral part of Medicare.

It is astonishing the number of young people – under 25 – who have missing, and, even worse, rotting teeth. Where once the silent white killer – sugar – was a main contributing factor to tooth decay, today it is more nuanced. A lethal combination of a sugar ladened diet and recreational drugs, especially crystal methamphetamine – more commonly known as ice – are the major causes.

Dental care has become the purview of the rich. Too many have become a lost cause. We must start the learning process anew, and in our homes and schools. Governments have a vital role to play. However costly, and difficult, health education programmes, across all platforms, must be set in place, immediately.

In the same manner, the 1987 Grim Reaper HIV AIDS campaign shocked people out of their complacency, the same device must be employed for holistic communal health, which includes dental hygiene.

I have never tasted Coca Cola, nor have I eaten a Chiko roll or a fast-food hamburger. Once, in 1969, I tried chicken from one of the international franchises. To this day, I have never felt the urge to repeat that culinary experience.

There should be a sugar tax. Supermarkets should be divided into good and bad areas – however preposterous that might sound. Unhealthy food has become a pollutant. Fast-food is too accessible. Its quality must be legislated. We cannot continue to allow our young people to be contaminated; their systems poisoned by greed, and unhealthy food.

The new Downton Abbey film – A New Era, has been released, and it’s a treat.

Writer Julian Fellowes has created a cast of characters which have struck a chord with audiences all over the world.

The series became a success in a way no-one had imagined. Channel 7 – while revelling in its popularity – took the series by default. They wanted one series, but it came with Downton Abbey. Begrudgingly they signed, never imagining they had a smash hit on their hands.

Cleverly, Fellowes has two main story lines, plus the usual subplots, happening at the same time. Without spoiling any of the enjoyment, one story line runs in the south of France in high summer; the other is at Highclere Castle.

For Downton fans this is a real treat!

Roland can be contacted with Downton Abbey related conversation, gossip and fan fiction via [email protected].