Local dental practice raising awareness of mouth cancer

THE team at Creative Smiles, based in Dunmurry, are rallying to the call of the Mouth Cancer Action Month to help encourage people to check for signs of a disease that, without early detection, could claim 30,000 lives over the next decade.

Mouth Cancer Action Month runs throughout November and is an annual campaign organised by the British Dental Health Foundation sponsored and supported by Denplan to help raise awareness of the signs and those most at risk.

Principal dentist Mark Gilbert said: “Mouth cancer has always traditionally been seen as a disease that affects older generations that heavily smoke, drink and chew tobacco. Whilst it is true that this group is at increased risk of developing mouth cancer, there are more and more cases being diagnosed in young people, too. There is ongoing research into why the numbers are dramatically increasing in younger age groups, but scientists think it’s linked to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), as well as the traditional risk factors of tobacco, smoking and alcohol.

“With this in mind, we want to raise awareness of the disease and make sure people of all ages are aware of the risks and symptoms – even younger people.

“If diagnosed early, mouth cancer is more treatable and gives patients a 90 per cent chance of survival,” added Mark.

“Most dentists will routinely check for signs of oral cancer during dental check-ups, so regular visits to your dentist are important. Patients should also visit their dentist if they have any concerns in between appointments, such as mouth ulcers that haven’t healed within three weeks, red or white patches or other unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth.”

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation said: “It is estimated that 6,000 people alone this year will be diagnosed with mouth cancer and diagnosing the symptoms early could extend the lives of 5,400 of them.”

For more information visit www.mouthcancer.org