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HEALTH

Work ciggie break ban idea hits opposition

Calls for cigarette breaks at work to be banned in Germany have raised the hackles of workers - and led one MP to say it was a “step towards a non-smoking dictatorship”.

Work ciggie break ban idea hits opposition
Photo: DPA

Two major German employers’ lobby groups called on Friday for workers to be banned from smoking cigarettes during work hours, saying it harmed productivity and cost firms money.

Mario Ohoven, president of the BVMW association of German medium-sized firms, told the Bild daily: “We’ve got to put an end to lighting up during work hours.

“Cigarette breaks cost firms money and disrupt the flow of the working day,” added Ohoven, in an appeal that made the front page of Germany’s most-read newspaper.

Another entrepreneur, Ursula Frerichs, from the UMW association of mid-sized businesses, said: “Additional breaks for smokers should be banned.Non-smokers should not be put at a disadvantage.”

But the call ran into immediate opposition.

Such an initiative “would hardly contribute to a good atmosphere in companies,” said Martina Perreng from the DGB trade union federation.

Karl Lauterbach, a Bundestag member with the centre-left Social Democratic Party, said, “A ban on smoking in short breaks outside the front door would be a massive discrimination – and a step towards a non-smoking dictatorship.”

This was even though, he told Bild, “I am in favour for strict non-smoker protection in the workplace.”

Around a quarter of Germans are smokers – about average for the European Union according to Eurostat figures – and the tobacco lobby has a strong influence in the country.

The last of Germany’s 16 states made lighting up in bars and restaurants largely illegal in public places from July 2008, but the law was riddled with loopholes and many bar owners circumvent it.

Bundestag members from across the political spectrum said in May that they were working to introduce uniform anti-smoking laws that would close the loopholes and be applicable nationally.

AFP/The Local/mdm

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HEALTH

The vocab you need for a trip to the dentist in Germany

Going to the dentist can be daunting at the best of times and being unsure of the language can make things ten times worse. We’ve put together a guide of the German words and phrases you need to help take some of the pain away.

The vocab you need for a trip to the dentist in Germany

When you arrive at the dentist, you’ll usually be asked if you’re gesetzlich or privat versichert (if you have state or private health insurance) and asked to present your health insurance card. However, for most procedures, you will still have to pay something extra on top. 

The most common reason for a trip to the dentist (Zahnarzt) is having eine Vorsorgeuntersuchung (check-up) or a cleaning appointment (eine Zahnreinigung or eine Prophylaxe) which most dentists recommend having twice a year.

Most health insurers won’t reimburse the full cost of teeth cleaning – so make sure you check beforehand with your Krankenkasse which costs are covered.

In a cleaning appointment, the dentist will remove plaque (der Zahnbelag) and check the health of your teeth (die Zähne) and gums (das Zahnfleisch). If they tell you that they see Karies (tooth decay) then you may be told to come back for another appointment to get a filling (eine Zahnfüllung or eine Plombe).

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

They will certainly remind you at the end of the appointment to use Zahnseide (dental floss) on a daily basis (täglich) and also recommend that you use Interdentalbürsten (interdental brushes) for cleaning in between the teeth.

In the chair

When you actually get into the hot seat, you will be usually asked to do certain things by your dentist or dental assistant (Zahntechniker) so they can do what they need to do.

The first thing you’ll usually be asked to do is ausspülen bitte – to rinse your mouth with mouthwash (die Mundspülung) usually in a plastic cup in a little sink next to the dental chair. They might ask you to keep the liquid in your mouth for a certain number of seconds until they tell you to ausspucken (spit it out).

A woman undergoes a dental examination. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Markus Scholz

When you’re lying down, you’ll inevitably be told Mund öffnen bitte or aufmachen bitte (open your mouth) and likewise, you might be asked to zumachen (close) your mouth at some point. Other typical instructions in the dentist’s chair are: Mundlocker lassen (relax your mouth), Kopf zu mir drehen (turn your head towards me) and Kinn nach oben (chin upwards).

Types of dental issues

There are numerous complaints that could compel you to pay a visit to the dentist, but one of the most common is having a filling (eine Zahnfüllung) or having a crown (eine Zahnkrone).Your health insurance will cover the cost of the most basic kind of material for filling up a cavity, but you will be presented with a price list (or if you aren’t – ask) for the different types of materials for crowns or fillings.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How dental care works in Germany

Another common complaint is having to have a tooth removed (eine Zahnextraction) – a particularly common procedure for a wisdom tooth (der Weisheitszahn). A more serious extraction procedure is a root canal treatment (eine Wuzelkanalbehandlung).

If you have this kind of procedure, you will normally be offered a local anaesthetic (örtliche Betäubung or Lokalanästhesie) and you may also need an X-Ray (ein Röntgen).

More useful phrases and vocabulary

Braces – (die) Zahnspangen

Sensitive teeth – empfindliche

ZähneTooth pain – (der) Zahnschmerz

Dentures – (die) ProtheseI have toothache when I chew/drink – Ich habe Zahnschmerzen beim kauen/trinken

I have light/strong pain on this tooth – Ich habe leichte/starke Schmerzen an diesem Zahn

My gums are inflamed – Ich habe eine Entzündung am Zahnfleisch

I am nervous about the treatment – Ich habe Angst vor der Behandlung

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