From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 15 May
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.
I am delighted that Primrose, Lady Potter, has taken on the Fiona Elsey Research Institute patronage.
Fundraising has always been difficult – but now, more than ever, it is especially tough. Hopefully, the gravitas of Lady Potter’s name, and her determination to help, will be part of the next step for the organisation.
Professor George Kannourakis is a scientific genius. Ballarat is most fortunate to have such an eminent man stationed here.
It is time for the institute to become a national organisation, based in Ballarat. Science is going ahead in leaps and bounds. There is no reason a cancer-curing breakthrough should not happen here. Imagine that!!
Roland can be heard with Brett Macdonald Mondays at 10.45am on 3BA and contacted via [email protected].