Thousands of patients have been left without access to dental treatment as an increasing number of dentists opt to switch to private practice. For those who can afford it, there are dental plans paid monthly which will guarantee check-ups and polishes every year. But any dental treatment which arises will have to be paid at a premium. And unlike the NHS, there will be no cap on how much the treatment will cost. Those who are struggling to make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis are most likely to opt out of any dental care. And that could be storing up a whole host of trouble for the future. While dentists are essential for helping take care of our oral health, they are also the vital eyes which will spot the first signs of mouth or tongue cancer. Without dentists, those signs may go unnoticed until the cancer is at too advanced a stage to be cured. Government pledges to provide free treatment for all patients under the age of 25 are empty promises when there are so few NHS dentists to provide it. Already, we are hearing of desperate patients resorting to DIY dentistry to relieve toothache and some are even attempting to make their own dentures. It is like a return to Victorian healthcare – so far away from Nye Bevan’s vision of a modern health service. The Scottish Government has tried to tweak the financial remuneration to dentists to make NHS work more appealing but with many still switching to private work, it is clearly not enough. Politicians must strike a deal so that every person in every town gets the same access to an NHS dentist and ensure Scotland smiles better. Power to be fair We all know we need to embrace green energy to tackle the climate crisis. And Scotland is blessed with the resources to become a renewables powerhouse – with wind power one example. But as wind farm construction ramps up across the country, people in remote and fragile areas like the Cabrach, in Moray, have legitimate concerns about the impact projects will have on their environment, economy and people. As we reveal today, one beneficiary of the massive developments planned is landowner, controversial tycoon and Tory donor Christopher Moran. It’s fair to ask how these schemes benefit the people who live there. Especially when we know they’re raking in cash for multinational firms and businessmen like Moran. The transition to clean energy will only work if it’s fair and just. Riding roughshod over communities while lining the pockets of the super-rich seems like a poor start. Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond Sign up to our daily newsletter.