Mouth Cancer Action

A new report compiled by the Oral Health Foundation has shown that mouth cancer rates are at a record high. In 2019, there were 8,722 people diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK. This is a staggering 97% increase since the year 2000.

This is the eleventh year in a row that mouth cancer cases have risen. Here, we’ll look at the findings in light of Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Understanding the findings

The latest study was carried out by the dental charity as part of its State of Mouth Cancer UK report for 2020/21. Governing health body statistics were used to compile the report, which reveals that 67% of mouth cancers occur in men. Also, 78% of mouth cancer patients are aged over 55.

However, the good news is that seeking early treatment boosts survival chances by 50% to 90%, making it important for people to understand the symptoms to watch out for.

What is mouth cancer?

Also known as oral cancer, mouth cancer causes a tumour to grow within the mouth. It is most commonly found on the tongue, but it can also develop on the roof of the mouth, the inside of the cheeks or at the back of the mouth.

The main symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Painful mouth ulcers that don’t heal
  • Unexplained loose teeth
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained persistent lumps in the neck or mouth
  • Speech changes

These are the most common symptoms to be aware of. If they don’t go away within three weeks, you should consult your GP. There are different types of mouth cancer and it is categorised by the cell the cancer grows in.

Around 9 out of 10 mouth cancers are squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. However, you could also suffer with lesser common forms such as sarcoma, adenocarcinoma and oral malignant melanoma.

What causes the disease?

There are a number of risk factors associated with the likelihood of developing mouth cancer. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive levels of alcohol, are known to contribute to mouth cancer.

Most recently, it has been linked to HIV, or the Human Papillomavirus. An unhealthy diet can also contribute, alongside poor dental hygiene.

The purpose of Mouth Cancer Action Month

Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to raise awareness of the condition. It also gives charities the chance to fundraise to try and combat mouth cancer through research. This year, you can get involved by joining the Blue Ribbon Campaign or organising a fundraiser of your own.

Mouth cancer is a devastating disease that is proving to be on the rise. It is important to detect the condition as early as possible for successful treatment and undergoing regular dental check-ups can help to identify any issues with your oral health quickly. Call us on 0117 905 9866 to arrange an appointment at CK Dental.

dentist-676421_960_720Here at CK Dental practice in Bristol, we have recently added dental treatment under general anaesthesia to our list of services. This is suited to patients who are extremely nervous of visiting the dentist – sometimes known as “dental phobic” patients.

One question that we get asked a lot at our Bristol dental practice is what sort of dental work can be performed under a general anaesthetic, so here we are going to attempt to answer that as comprehensively as possible.

Essential routine care

Because general anaesthesia does carry some risk, you are unlikely to be offered cosmetic or non-essential routine dental treatment under a general anaesthetic.

However, if you need a filling or extraction, or other routine dental care that the dentist feels it would be detrimental to your oral health to ignore, then this can be performed under a general anaesthetic – within the same building in which CK Dental is housed: Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, The Chesterfield – for your comfort.

More complex procedures

Often, when patients are severely dental phobic, they have avoided visiting the dentist for a prolonged period, and their dental health has suffered as a result. In this situation, more complex dental work may be required – root canal treatment, or even implant placement if the teeth have deteriorated too much to be saved.

General anaesthesia for dental treatment presents the perfect option for these patients, allowing the dentist to rectify these problems without any discomfort for the patient, who is unconscious throughout and just wakes up after surgery to find all their dental problems solved.

All the staff here at CK Dental practice in Bristol are trained to a high level in dealing with extremely nervous patients, so we take pains to put you at ease from the minute you set foot in our clinic and throughout the examination process.

If you are dental phobic and would like to know more about dental treatment under general anaesthetic, please contact us.

dentist appointmentIf you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may have forgotten what happens during a routine dental appointment. And – particularly if you are feeling a bit nervous about going to the dentist – it can be helpful to know what’s in store.

So, here’s a brief rundown of what you can expect during a dental check-up here at CK Dental practice in Bristol.

Filling in a medical history form

If it’s been a long time since your last visit to the dentist, you will probably be asked to fill in a form about your medical history. This is usually a fairly simple tick-box exercise and shouldn’t take too long. If you are unsure about any of the questions, the receptionist or another member of staff will be happy to help.

Meeting the dentist

Once it is time for your appointment, either the dentist or a dental nurse will come out to the waiting room and show you the way into the clinic.

The dentist will then introduce himself and may ask you some questions about your dental health routine – how often you brush, floss etc – as well as your eating habits and other lifestyle factors that might affect your teeth, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

All of this is intended to give the dentist an overall impression of your oral health, but if you feel uncomfortable and would like to skip this part and go straight to the examination itself, then it is important to say so and the dentist will be happy to comply with your wishes.

A visual examination

The dentist will need to look inside your mouth to get an idea of how healthy your teeth and gums are. To do this, he will need to recline your chair back and shine a light into your mouth. He will then use a small mirror to check each of your teeth and the surrounding gums. He is looking for plaque, cavities and other signs of decay, as well as checking whether you have all your teeth.

Here at CK Dental practice in Bristol, we understand that some people have a fear of the dentist’s chair. If this is you, please do say so at the outset and we will do our best to keep you as comfortable as possible during the examination – it may be possible to check your mouth using a small mirror while you sit in a normal chair, for example.

It may well be that the dentist has to use instruments to allow him to examine your mouth thoroughly. If that is the case, he will always explain to you beforehand exactly what he is going to use and why.

X-rays

Once every year or so, the dentist will need to take an x-ray of your mouth. This allows him to check for any problems below the foundations of the teeth, or inside the tooth itself.

You will be asked to bite down on a small tab, while the dentist uses an x-ray machine to take a series of photographs of your mouth from several angles. The machine itself looks a bit like a telescope, and is held on a mechanical arm. The process is usually over within a matter of minutes.

If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while and are nervous about your appointment, please contact us to find out what we can do to put you at your ease in our Bristol dental clinic.

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth thoroughly, twice a day, but do you know the best way to do it?

Here, the team from CK Dental practice in Bristol explains the most effective way to brush your teeth if you want to reduce plaque and save yourself from having to undergo expensive and invasive dental work in future.

For a really thorough clean, most dentists recommend using an electric toothbrush, but you should be able to get good results from a manual brush if you follow these tips.

Set a timer

The two minute rule is more than just a guideline. You really should brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, aiming to spend 30 seconds on each of the four sections of your mouth – upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left.

If you do use an electric toothbrush, it will probably have a built-in timer that will tell you when your two minutes is up, but if you are using a manual brush, it can be useful to have a clock, or even an egg timer close to hand. Egg timers are particularly useful for children.

Get the position right

It isn’t necessarily about brushing your teeth as hard as you can – in fact, brushing too hard can damage the enamel of your teeth and erode your gums – but about getting the angle of the brush right, so you remove all food particles and plaque-causing bacteria.

When brushing the inner and outer surfaces of the teeth, you should hold the brush at about a 45 degree angle and use short, gentle strokes, remembering to target the gum line where most food gets trapped.

For the chewing surfaces, hold the toothbrush flat against the tooth and brush backwards and forwards using slightly longer strokes.

For the insides of your front teeth, use just the tip of the brush to brush gently upwards and downwards.

Don’t forget your tongue

Food particles can get caught on the surface of your tongue, so it’s important to brush the surface of your tongue from back to front, using long sweeping strokes, to remove these particles along with any bacteria, freshening your breath.

To check up on how effective your toothbrushing routine is, why not book a routine dental exam here at Bristol dental practice CK Dental.