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Eating sweets need NOT damage your teeth



IF YOU need a filling at the dentist how many times have you heard the message ‘you must stop eating sweets and sugar’? Really, in this day and age with

Dr Mark Boulcott: Explaining dental disease to a patient.

Dr Mark Boulcott: Explaining dental disease to a patient.

sugar being added or included in almost all foods as not only a sweetener but as a preservative, texture modifier, fermentation substrate, flavouring and colouring agent, bulking agent and emulsifier, is it even possible to comply with this message and not starve?

It is no surprise, therefore that the statistics of decayed teeth in Pembrokeshire as regularly reviewed by the Hywel Dda Health Board Oral Health Profile (last published in 2013) shows an appalling incidence of dental decay in 5 year olds – and yet dental decay is a totally preventable disease!

So what in reality can you and your children eat and be reassured that your teeth will remain decay free? The answer is that there are really no safe foods. The food industry confuses us with statement like ‘no added sugar’, ‘contains natural sugars’ or ‘reduced sugar’. Sucrose, Glucose, Maltose, Fructose (as labeled on many foodstuffs) are all naturally occurring sugars and all, when eaten, cause acid to form in the mouth: The cause of dental decay with the acid ‘dissolving’ teeth. What is less obvious is the amount of sugar contained within the product.

In essence, sugar is sugar: They all cause dental decay no matter how much or how little you eat. One teaspoon of sugar (sucrose) in your Tea is just as bad for your teeth as five sugars. The only difference is that you may get fat, more prone to diabetes and other health complications with a higher sugar intake but much lower amounts of sugar ingestion will still cause teeth damage. So we have to assume all foods we eat contain sugar (fermentable carbohydrate) of some type.

This dissolving of the teeth, called dental decay or dental caries, puts you and your child at the risk of dental pain, infection and the need for treatments possibly including tooth removal.

Thinking that, in the case of young children, it does not matter (after all, ‘baby teeth’ will be replaced) is wrong. The decay of deciduous teeth may still lead to your child having pain and infection but worse, teeth removal possibly needing General Anaesthesia. This is a procedure not without risk and not easy to access in Pembrokeshire with the nearest GA treatment centre being in Swansea with waiting times often inappropriate for acute pain. There is also the fact that early loss of first teeth is much more likely to lead to crowded or crooked permanent teeth: a fact that may require later orthodontics (treating with braces).

The dentists at Herbrandston, one of Pembrokeshire’s most proactive dental practices in regard to prevention of dental disease, give a different message. Dr Mark Boulcott, the principal dental surgeon states: “I never tell parents to stop giving sweets. That message is unrealistic and unhelpful. The modern diet is full of sugary drinks, sugary confectionary and sugar containing meals. Instead I am far more interested in the frequency of sugar ingestion: how often patients eat sugar, not how much sugar.”

“It has been known for decades that sugar causes bacteria in the mouth to form acid which in turn damages teeth. Of course, no sugar equals no tooth decay, but what most patients (and indeed many dentists) fail to understand is that the amount of sugar required to cause bacteria to produce acid is minimal. The more sugar you eat does not mean more acid in your mouth – but even the slightest sugar intake causes tooth damage.”

Dr Boulcott points to evidence from as far back as the 1940s, when Dr Robert Stephan postulated the coincidence of reducing pH (acidity) and tooth decay: “It is evident even before the advent of the NHS that dental decay was not caused by having too much sugar, but by having too great a frequency of intake. Sugar causes damage by allowing mouth bacteria to produce acid but the amount of sugar eaten is irrelevant. Any damage caused by the acid (at a microscopic level) should be repaired provided the saliva is allowed and able to work properly, converting acid back to neutral products and acting to ‘repair’ damaged teeth. If sugar is regularly ingested and more acid is produced before this ‘repair’ process is completed then dental decay will result. The upshot of this is that if a child ate a chocolate bar for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is in fact unlikely that they will get significant dental decay. If they eat the same amount of chocolate between meals, then they are much more likely: Twice the cycle of damage and far less time for repair. It should be understood that a sugar diet is inevitable,” states Dr Boulcott.

“What people must understand is that keeping food intake to mealtimes only is the best way to keep your teeth safe. This one fact is more important than tooth brushing or Fluoride. So, yes, Children (and adults) can eat sweets but keep these short acting (chocolate rather than a chewy sweet) and confine these to mealtimes – avoid eating between meals.”

Sadly some 60 years on and this simple message is still failing to get through. Dentistry and preventive messages still seem to mean little to a large percentage of the population with people in Wales being less likely to have been seen a dentist in the past two years than people in England. (52.2% of adults in Wales and 56% in England; and 64.7% of children in Wales compared to 69.1% in England). Many people argue that the reducing amount of NHS dentistry is to blame but in reality many patients (over half the population of Wales) seek dentists only in event of an emergency; citing anxiety rather than money (or NHS access) as being the major obstacle to visiting.

At Herbrandston, the dentists are trying to change this attitude by breaking down the barriers of fear and anxiety offering often unique ways of dealing with even the most difficult of dental phobias. This not only includes a gentle caring atmosphere of quiet professionalism mixed with genuine friendliness but also techniques such as dental sedation, hypnosis, introductory sessions without treatment and even animal therapy using pigs and ferrets to desensitize. They are working hard to emphasise the preventative message rather than the cycle of repair after repair. A very busy practice despite being in a rather isolated part of Pembrokeshire, Herbrandston will be expanding to open a state of the art new practice in Narberth in March.

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Maintenance plant shutdown planned for Dragon LNG



DRAGON LNG is scheduled to commence a 26-day planned maintenance shutdown at its Waterston
site from Monday May 17

The 24/7 shutdown will enable Dragon to carry out periodic maintenance and inspection, whilst
taking advantage of the opportunity to carry out some small improvement projects in a safe and controlled manner.

In addition to the normal preparations for a shutdown, which started in February 2020, Dragon
have been working extensively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council TTP team and UK Government, including the Department for Business, Energy
and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to align already in place COVID controls in preparation for our
additional workforce from 15 key vendors to support a successful event.

During the shutdown, there will be over 140 valve overhauls, approx. 960 COVID-19 LFD | PCR
tests carried out by a specialist company and over 200 virtual site safety inductions (enhanced with
COVID site controls).

With the works taking place within the site process area, any impact to our community, including
noise and dust disturbances is not anticipated. Please do note that flaring will be undertaken
during the shutdown.

A Dragon spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Whilst this is a major event at Dragon, the 1st shutdown since 2011, our top priority always is the safety of our team and community”.

Dragon continues to update its’ community and stakeholders on the progress of the work.

For any enquiries, please contact / 01646 691730.

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Encouraging responsible dog ownership so everyone enjoys their day at the beach



PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is encouraging and promoting responsible dog ownership to ensure that we can all enjoy the County’s glorious beaches this summer.

With Covid-19 restrictions easing and lots of people expected to head to the coast, respecting one another and the natural environment will be more important than ever.

And, as a dog-friendly County, Pembrokeshire will be welcoming many four-legged friends too.

While visiting and enjoying Pembrokeshire beaches, dog lovers are asked to be mindful of some restrictions regarding their pets.

Between 1st May and 30th September dogs are not permitted on the North Beach in Tenby, or Whitesands Beach near St Davids. However, some other beaches have specific dog-free areas Designated.

Other areas indicate where dogs must be kept on leads.

The byelaws are in place so that everyone, dog owners and non-dog owners alike, can enjoy their time at the seaside.

Updated signage detailing the byelaws will be displayed on all beaches, main beach access and exit points, plus signs and flags being displayed and flown by lifeguards.

This will help pet owners to take their pets to the areas of beach designated for their enjoyment.

The signage used will be part of a wider campaign to encourage responsible behaviour while visiting and enjoying Pembrokeshire.

While engaging with members of the public, explaining the byelaws and encouraging responsible behaviour will always be the preference, there has also been a change to how the restrictions will be monitored.

Enforcement Teams will be working alongside the patrols currently undertaken to address littering and dog fouling in our communities.

Where appropriate, Fixed Penalty Notices of £75 can be issued. This can rise up to £500 if the matter were to be successfully prosecuted in court.

It is hoped that by engaging, advising and promoting the byelaws, supported by new signage, the Council can encourage people to be even more responsible dog owners.

This will result in a fun, positive experience for all beach users this Summer.

Pembrokeshire County Council Leader Cllr David Simpson, said: “Pembrokeshire can’t wait to welcome all those who have been dreaming about a walk on the beach throughout much of the past year.

“We know and understand that dogs are part of the family and taking your pets out to the beach for the day or a simple walk at the seaside is so important.

“We hope that by engaging and explaining we can promote responsible dog ownership this summer to ensure everyone can enjoy their time on our incredible coast.

“Please plan your visits and take the time to have a look at the maps of the dog free areas and other information available and we look forward to welcoming everyone, whether two legs or four, once again.”

For more information, see:

Maps of the dog free areas and further information can be downloaded at:

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Speedy Sanna’s second shot at Pembrokeshire Coast Path record



A DETERMINED Pembrokeshire woman will reattempt to set a new record next week by running the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in the fastest time.

Sanna Duthie, 32, from Milford Haven, is aiming to become only the second person to run the whole of the 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Sanna attempted to break the record in August last year, but after clocking off more than 63 miles she had to abandon the record attempt for her own safety, due to the horrendous weather conditions.

She hopes to complete her run in under 64 hours and 32 minutes and is using the opportunity to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance Charity. Sanna has already smashed her fundraising target of £2,000 by raising an amazing £2,162.

The current record is held by Haverfordwest’s Richard Simpson, who completed the challenge in 2018.

As an ultra-runner, she has previously completed a 100-mile run in under 28 hours, but she is now hoping to exceed that and raise money for a charity close to her heart at the same time.

Reflecting on how she feels about re-attempting the challenge, Sanna, who likes to run ‘silly races’ said: “I am very nervous but feeling determined and strong. I’ve trained over 300 miles a month since March 2020, so I’ve done all the training I can. I would have liked to have gone to the gym, but I’ve done what I can at home. I’ve been out on difference sections of the coast path since restrictions have eased and it’s in good condition.”

Weather permitting Sanna, who is ‘overwhelmed’ with how much money she has raised, will start the challenge at 8am on Friday, 7 May at St Dogmaels and finishing in Amroth on Sunday, 9 May.

In preparation of the challenge Sanna has received a lot of support from her partner, family and friends, she said: “My dad and partner have been amazing. Making sure I’m fed after long runs and just being there. My friends have been amazing and although we haven’t been able to run together just knowing they support me helps. I’m hoping some can join me on the challenge it will be great to catch up. The chatter will be a great distraction.”

Katie Macro, Wales Air Ambulance South West Wales Community Co-ordinator, said: “We’re so grateful to Sanna for taking on this huge challenge once again. Her determination is outstanding, and she has so far raised an amazing amount for our lifesaving charity.

“Despite the horrendous weather during her last attempt she managed to run over 63 miles and only stopped the record attempt when it became unsafe to continue. Her determination is inspiring.

“On its own, it is a significant personal challenge, and we will be supporting her all the way to the finish line – and hopefully to a new record. For Sanna to choose to raise money for our lifesaving service at the same time is incredible. We are so grateful for her support and we’d like to wish her all the best. Thank you to everyone who has supported Sanna and continue to support her with her fundraiser.”

You can show your support to Sanna by donating to her Just Giving page – Sanna’s 186 miles – Pembrokeshire Coastpath

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