No evidence of difference does not mean there is no difference, Alun Rees says.

There has been a Twitter storm following the presentation of a report from the ‘Iquad team’ on the value of the routine scale and polish.

The bottom line of its findings, shown on a single slide and then shared on social media by the Scottish CDO, said, ‘no benefit from scale and polish at less than three years or of giving personalised advice over usual advice or current practice’.

This echoed the Cochrane review of 2013.

NB: no evidence of difference does not mean there is no difference.

If the video on the website is their idea of effective, personalised advice we have gone back to the 1950s.

Dental hygiene value

The results of the NIHR funded trial will be published ‘as widely as possible in academic and professional dental journals as well as the popular press as an aide to decision making by policy makers, dental practitioners and patients.’

Policy comes before practice and patients.

UDAs anybody?

The headline used as the message is designed to reach the mainstream press and used to question the value of dental hygiene.

The 21st century dental practice is built with a cornerstone of prevention.

It has taken three generations to raise awareness and an understanding of the benefits of dental health.

It’s not only health but also wellbeing.

Regular attenders like to know they are well.

Saving cash?

When patients clearly understand the benefits they want to have the confidence of an ongoing relationship with a professional who truly understands not only their needs but also their wants.

That confidence is all too easily undermined and I fear that this work will be used as a stick to beat those practices that place prevention at their core by throwing doubt on the value of dental hygiene.

Or is it yet another way of saving the NHS cash?