sun 09/08/2020

The Truth About Your Teeth, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

The Truth About Your Teeth, BBC One

The Truth About Your Teeth, BBC One

Grim tour of the nation's unlovely gnashers

Open wide: Dr Chris Van Tulleken and Jasmine Harman

Teeth. Who’d have them? This documentary about the state of the nation’s gnashers came along at a timely moment for your reviewer. Earlier in the week I suffered my first ever extraction. Didn’t feel a jot of pain, of course, but by Christ you know all about it when the dentist is fiddling about inside your mouth, attempting with a variety of utensils to pluck out the culprit.

I now see I had it easy. Meet Angela, a dog-walker from Cheshire. Her teeth were in a state of rococo disrepair. The camera went in for a snoop and it was like a cross between a motorway pile-up and a binful of rotting fruit and veg. One tooth kept on coming out and Angela would re-affix it. With superglue. Not, one need hardly over-stress, a recommended dental adhesive. Angela didn’t smile a lot, and you could argue that she had nothing much to smile about. The shame embodied by her ghastly gob was all-engulfing. And yet when offered a set of free dentures on the NHS she turned it down. The fear of having removable teeth seemed to her to open up an even greater minefield of embarrassment and self-consciousness.

This was responsible car-crash television

The Truth About Your Teeth was pretty much unwatchable. Boy, could you not broadcast this horror show before the watershed. The idea was that the BBC set up a dental surgery in a south London hospital (a unit which looked very much as if it was there already). They persuaded people with shocking teeth to overcome their fears and nip in for a check-up. Angela had her personal disaster zone inspected by unscary NHS dentist Serpil Djemal (pictured below). But she quickly ran away to the North again, and ended up cashing in her savings to have implants drilled in closer to home. The BBC crew, headed by concerned presenter Jasmine Harman, relentlessly chased her there so as not to miss the money shots.

Meanwhile, along came Richard, a young father from Aylesbury whose mouth was a daily vortex of pain. His teeth looked like the sea-weathered timbers of a forgotten jetty. “It’s changed the way I am, who I am,” he said mournfully. The culprit was energy drinks, 24 cans of which he’d drink per shifts to keep himself awake at work. The jammy blighter was caught just in time. Serpil drilled away the gunk and his teeth came up quite close to pearly.

Then there was Deniece. But you don’t want to know about Deniece. And what happened whenever she attacked a burger with her incisors.

This could be you, of course. That was the message. Especially if you’re one of the five million fools who’ve not been to the dentist in 10 years. The good news is that looking after your teeth is not rocket science. Between the case histories, personable co-presenter Chris Van Tulleken patrolled the dental hygiene industry, researching and reporting. His proven conclusion: most products are snakeoil, including whitening agents and the 16 indistinguishable varieties of Colgate. Tip: two minutes’ brushing, twice a day; and if caught with bog breath, munch on a carrot. 

This was responsible car-crash television. There maybe could have been more on the phobias associated with dental health – Martin Amis was by no means the first to align crumbling teeth with fears of impotence. I suppose it’s one thing opening up your mouth, another disinterring the buried demons of an entire psyche on national television. Alas, there’s more of this next week. Book yourself in for an appointment.

Richard's teeth looked like the sea- weathered timbers of a forgotten jetty


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Why wouldn't Serpil fit implants after giving Angela such bad news ? Is she not able to do this procedure ? How unfortunate for this poor lady that she had to go privately after volunteering to take part in YOUR Programme Unfair knowing how awful it affects a womans confidence to reach the stage of Full dentures that jump up and down in one's mouth ..this was the reason I followed advice and visited my dentist regularly yet I too have to use superglue for a tooth Your documentary said that if people visited the dentist annually and brushed regularly with a Fluoride toothpaste their teeth would not decay ...wonder what's happened to mine , wil I blame my dentist I have been attending my dentist every 6months ( which is what was recommended ) for over 30 years and brushing 3 times a day yet I have had to have crowns which ruined my bite , bite was never correct afterwards and crowns kept falling out and were never replaced ...why oh why should teeth deteriorate so much within a 6month period ..I am obsessive about my teeth and now feel totally let down by the whole NHS Dental service ..I don't have a private one in my area and to visit one would require a 3 hour ferry journey and a 1.5 hr bus journey I can't bear the thought of dentures and knowing that bottom dentures have absolutely no grip makes me ill to think about this I'd still like to know why the Dentist in a Hospital such as this one wouldn't offer Implants to someone who was obviously struggling , I was not impressed at all

Sorry for your experiences, but a diet with low frequency and amount of sugar, and brushing your teeth effectively twice a day with fluoride toothpaste will stop tooth decay, there are innumerable studies to back this up. With regards to placing the implants, this is a very expensive procedure, which would cost close to £15000. This treatment is absolutely done in the hospital, and on the NHS, but is reserved for those who have congenitally missing teeth, or have lost them through trauma, or cancer. Those who need all teeth extracted due to the preventable diseases of tooth decay, and gum disease are not eligible for implants on the NHS.

If Angela ha 90/ bone loss how was she able to get implants 52 I h ave been told implants are not a possibility due to bone loss and a removable denture only option

This is why you have to watch your diet also! there are lots of ways to getting healthier whiter teeth using home remedies the problem is that it could be potentially unsafe if you don't know what your doing, some people say to use baking soda and lemon juice and others say to use strawberries, the thing is if you don't build yourself a strong foundation first, then all of these at home remedies will be pointless, what i mean is first start off by avoiding acidic drinks such as sodas, you don't have to completely quit but take it slow, for example drink through a straw to avoid direct contact with your teeth, also drink a lot of water, once you have done simple things like this, then you can focus on whitening using home remedies, also get good instructions for whitening teeth at home because it can be dangerous, if you need help getting a routine and safe methods read they helped get an awesome safe routine going that got me nice shiny pearly whites, anyways good luck and don't give up!

I would love to see this dentist. I have a over bite on top and hate my teeth.

Hello I'm only 41 and have got Britons worst teeth and I hate it !! How can I get intouch with the show please!! please help me Many thanks and one day a smile !!

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