Dentists are now wanting to raise the awareness around the risks of smoking and developing mouth cancer. Helping their patients to quit smoking can greatly reduce the numbers of mouth cancer cases in the UK.
The UK has seen a dramatic increase in mouth cancer cases over the past decade, yet there has been very little action taken to raise public awareness around the subject. The public don’t realise the extreme dangers that smoking places on their oral health, and especially regarding mouth cancer in particular.
While there have been very prominent public health campaigns for many years that highlight the risks associated with smoking and lung cancer, as well as with heart disease and strokes, there seems to be a lack of focus on the effects of smoking on oral health.
No Smoking Day
Dental professionals are now trying to help raise awareness of the risks to oral health by using the National No Smoking Day of March 14th to help their smoking patients to quit the habit. Dentists want to draw patients attention to the close relationship between mouth cancer and smoking, and how quitting can potentially save their life.
The most recent figures released by Cancer Research UK have revealed a shocking rise in mouth cancer cases in the UK. Statistics show that over the past decade the rates of oral cancer have increased by over a third (34%). This means that more than 7,500 UK adults are now diagnosed with mouth cancer every year.
According to the study figures, mouth cancer has now become the 10th most common cancer in adult males in the UK and the 15th most common cancer in adult women. This means that mouth cancer is now the 14th most common form of cancer across the whole of the UK with the expectation that this will move up the list even further if current trends continue on track.
Of the cases of mouth cancer diagnosed, the vast majority are as a direct result of smoking. However, millions of UK smokers remain completely unaware of the dangerous connection. In fact, according to research from the British Dental Health Foundation, one in four people did not think that smoking was a cause of mouth cancer.
How Dentists are Helping
Many dental professionals are now taking a stand because they are in a position to use their knowledge and direct access to patients to help raise awareness of the dangers of smoking on oral health and encourage them to quit.
Dentists are now making good use of all available statistics and reports to ensure they reach the right people. They are using No Smoking Day and beyond to help their patients to recognise the links between smoking and oral health. Through passing on information and talking to their patients directly about the effects of mouth cancer not only as a threat to their life, but also the effect it can have on eating, drinking, talking and even breathing, it is hoped that thousands of people can be spared this awful disease by giving up smoking.
If you are a smoker and would like to know more about the risks of mouth cancer, speak to your dentist. They can help to support you while you give up smoking.