Which Toothbrush Is Right for Me?

There are so many toothbrushes on the market, it’s hard to know which one is for you. Should you get electric or manual? Plastic or eco-friendly? We know it’s confusing with so much choice and although we don’t want to recommend any specific brands of toothbrushes or dental care products, there are a number of factors you may wish to consider when the time comes to replace your old toothbrush.

1. Electric or manual?

There is some debate as to whether electric or the traditional elbow-grease powered ones are more effective in the fight against plaque. According to the Oral Health Foundation, a 2019 study found that electric toothbrushes may help your overall dental health better than their manual counterparts. The OHF reports that, “scientists found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush.” Clearly the evidence suggests that electric toothbrushes are more effective at maintaining and improving oral health, but they are also considerably more expensive. It is more important that you have a toothbrush and use it than that it is top of the range. We advise that you get the kind of toothbrush that you are most comfortable with and that appeals to you visually because you are more likely to use it consistently if there’s something you like about it.

2. Plastic or eco-friendly?

There has been an increase of dental products on the market in recent years that are made from sustainable and more eco-friendly materials than the usual plastic ones. The electric toothbrush market is a little more behind in this regard, as these tend to last longer and need therefore to be made from more resistant and durable materials. There are bamboo varieties of electric toothbrushes now available from some online retailers and also varieties of degradable toothbrush heads which are compatible with big brand electric toothbrush units. That means you don’t have to replace your whole toothbrush if you want to be more eco-friendly but still use an electric toothbrush for a better all-round clean.

Until recently, finding an eco-friendly toothbrush has been a fairly niche market for online retailers. But now Colgate has brought out a very competitively priced bamboo toothbrush with degradable and recyclable packaging too. Since it is produced by such a named brand, it is available at your local supermarket making it even more convenient to be a friend to your planet. Bambooth is the only biodegradable toothbrush brand that is approved by the Oral Health Foundation to our knowledge. According to them “more than 3.5 billion plastic toothbrushes are produced every year with the majority of these ending up in oceans and landfill.” With the average plastic toothbrush taking 1000 years to degrade into microplastics, we do see the appeal of making more eco-friendly choices when it comes to replacing your toothbrush. We applaud any company’s efforts to be more planet kind in their manufacturing and we hope there will continue to be more advances in the eco-friendly oral health product industry in the future.

3. Branded or supermarket brand?

Although we recommend getting a toothbrush from a brand you trust, we would point out that the oral care products manufactured by the majority of British supermarkets are approved by the Oral Health Foundation, including those sold by Lidl and Aldi. A full list of the brands and products they approve of can be found here. As we said before, get a toothbrush you like the look of as well as one that is in your price range. Whether you feel you trust a known named brand more to look after your teeth or you’d rather save a few coins, as long as you have a toothbrush that is comfortable to use and that you like, you’re doing fine.

So now you’ve got an idea of what sort of toothbrush is right for you, when should you go about replacing your toothbrush? Most oral care brands recommend replacing your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three to four months. According to scientific studies An investigation into the effect of three months’ clinical wear on toothbrush efficacy: results from two independent studies – PubMed (nih.gov) ‘a worn toothbrush is less efficient with respect to plaque removal than a new brush’. Also, a lot of bacteria can build up on your brush over time,so, if it’s possible for you to do so, replace your toothbrush every three months. Using four toothbrushes a year means that switching to an eco-friendly alternative may be a very sensible consideration.

With life expectancy in the UK around 80 years, that’s around 320 toothbrushes ending up in landfill or in the ocean per person in their lifetime. That’s a lot of microplastics in our marine life and wildlife’s stomachs. Just one side of the argument, but now more eco-friendly alternatives to plastic brushes are more widely available, it might be worth considering making more planet friendly choices regarding your dental care products. As we’ve said before, whichever toothbrush is comfortable for you and appeals to you, that is the right one for you.

We hope we’ve given you something to think about for the next time you come to replace your toothbrush. Remember that Kennett Road Dental Practice are still here for you, even during lockdown to cater to your dental needs. Check ups and routine appointments are available as well as emergency procedures. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any concerns over your dental health or wish to book an appointment.


Gum Disease: How Does It Affect Me?

Healthy Smile

Almost everyone has seen the Corsodyl adverts about tooth loss. You know, the ones with a beautiful girl putting on her make up or frolicking through a field of wheat and then it’s shockingly revealed that she has a very obvious tooth missing that she can’t hide. And suddenly you feel so bad for her because she’s so gorgeous apart from the gaping hole in her smile, but you just can’t miss it.

The adverts are hard to watch and as a viewer you feel very aware that the more horrific the experience of watching it, the better their mouthwash sales are going to be. You may even wonder if gum disease is real or if it is simply a myth made up to sell more toothpaste. Maybe you haven’t heard of it, or don’t think you know anyone who has had it. Well, we want to give you the facts about gum disease, no scare tactics, just truth. Because knowledge is power, and we want you to know how to prevent against tooth loss and more.

  • It’s not a myth. Gum disease is real, and it affects a surprising amount of people. So, what is it? Well, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s disease of the gums. The gums are the pink, fleshy part of your mouth that hold your teeth, well…in your mouth. So, they’re kind of important and looking after them is just as crucial as looking after your teeth because, simply put: no gums = no teeth.

Gum disease is primarily caused by a build-up of plaque which contains bacteria. This bacteria can attack the tooth and gums, causing gum disease to develop. According to the Oral Health Foundation gum disease has been linked with general health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease, poor pregnancy outcomes and even dementia.

  • What does gum disease do? It’s also referred to as gingivitis, or periodontal disease The Oral Health Foundation states ‘the first sign is blood on your toothbrush or in the toothpaste you spit out after cleaning your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant ‘. NHS England writes that “If periodontitis is not treated, the bone in your jaw may be damaged and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth. Your teeth can become loose and may eventually fall out.” So, I think we can all agree that is to be avoided at all costs.


  • It won’t happen to me. Anyone can get gum disease although some people are more prone to it than others and some other factors can increase your chances of it affecting you too. Up to 80% of the adult population are affected to some degree before the age of 60.

The NHS website advises that “most adults in the UK have gum disease to some degree, and most people experience it at least once.” That is even less welcome news, but it does prove that this is an issue that few people talk about, but many people must experience. That also means that you absolutely do know someone who has or has had gum disease.

  • Who can get Gum disease? The short answer is, absolutely anyone with gums. But there are a few factors that can increase your odds of getting gum disease. You are more likely to suffer from gum disease during pregnancy for example. Obviously, that only refers to the ladies, but it is precisely why dental care is free for NHS patients during pregnancy so do take advantage and make sure your teeth are healthy if you’re expecting.

Other factors that can increase your likelihood of getting gum disease are:

  1. If you smoke, you are much more likely to get gum disease.
  2. Your age. Gum disease is more common the older you get.
  3. Diabetes can put you more at risk of gingivitis.
  4. Pregnancy. Yes, the swift changes in hormone levels can make you more susceptible to gum disease.
  5. If you suffer from a weakened immune system or a poor diet you may be more prone to gum disease.
  6. Stress has also proven to be counterproductive to healthy gums, and general health for that matter. Who knew?
  7. Genetics – if your mum or dad have had gum disease, then you are more at risk.


  • How do you treat it? The best treatment for gum disease is prevention but there are dental treatments that can help gum disease. The most important thing to do in order to prevent gum disease causing further dental problems for you, is to attend your regular, routine dental appointments at your local dental practice. Your dentist or hygienist will be able to tell you if you are suffering from gum disease and what to do about it.

Dentistry is not just about teeth for us. At Kennett Road Dental Practice, we want your whole mouth to be healthy and for you to have a smile you can be proud of. If you are concerned about gum disease, then do discuss your worries at your next dental check-up or appointment. If you think you might be suffering with gum disease (see symptoms here), then our advice is to book an appointment with your dental practitioner or hygienist to get it treated before it causes more severe problems for you.

The most important thing to remember where gum disease is concerned is that it is absolutely preventable. You can seriously reduce your risk of gum disease and resulting dental issues by brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride rich toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth daily with floss or interdental brushes and visiting your dentist and hygienist regularly. It’s really that simple.

Everything You Need to Know About High Fluoride Toothpaste and Dental Caries

Man cleaning teeth

Although we wish to make it clear that Kennett Road Dental Practice is open and ready to help you with both routine appointments and urgent treatments, we know that for many, visiting the surgery is still difficult. As a preventative measure to avoid the coronavirus pandemic causing a rise in long-term dental problems, we have come up with a solution. We can prescribe high fluoride toothpaste to our patients who meet certain criteria. The aim of this is to help counteract the effects of not visiting the dentist and hygienist as often as you might otherwise have done.

We need to be clear though, that if you need to see us, you can do so in as safe an environment as it is possible for us to create. We are sanitising surfaces, ourselves and patient areas more often between appointments and have introduced several additional safety measures to protect our patients and ourselves. You can find a detailed video of our new safety procedures on our Facebook page or by clicking here.  We are able to see you for both emergency treatments as well as routine check-ups, but with the extra hygiene measures in place, fewer appointments are available than we would have offered before the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though we are able to see any patients who wish to receive dental care at this time, we also acknowledge that some of our patients will have to weigh the risks and benefits of leaving their homes more carefully than others. Because some people are at a higher risk of suffering with Covid-19 more seriously than others should they become infected, we decided that it would be wise to offer home preventative treatments for those who would benefit from it.

Happy mother and daughter cleaning teeth with toothbrushes on white

What is high fluoride toothpaste? Different toothpastes have different ratios of the tooth-protecting substance, fluoride. Baby toothpastes, for example contain much less fluoride than adult ones. Fluoride levels are measured in PPM or parts per million because most people only need a small amount of it to effectively fight tooth decay. According to the NHS website, children under six years old should have a toothpaste containing 1,000 ppm of fluoride, while most adult toothpastes contain between 1,300 and 1,500 ppm. High fluoride toothpaste contains a significantly higher level of fluoride, (up to 5,000) which effectively fights plaque and helps prevent tooth decay or caries in higher risk patients. The Oral Health Foundation states that “prescription high fluoride toothpaste at 5000ppm has more than three times the usual amount of fluoride you would expect in an adult toothpaste.”

We wish to stress that although prescription toothpastes may be a good preventative tool for some, nothing substitutes good dental health rituals at home and keeping regular check-up appointments with a dentist. High fluoride toothpaste is not a replacement for receiving professional dental care, but it can help aid your oral health, especially if you are at a high risk of tooth decay.

Who is it for? High fluoride toothpaste isn’t suitable for everyone. Hence why it requires a prescription. The oral health foundation explains that “sometimes following a dental check or caries risk assessment, you may need more fluoride in order to prevent tooth decay.” If your dentist has told you that you are at risk of tooth decay before, or if you think you match any of the risk factors that might suggest you are, consider talking to your dentist about a high fluoride toothpaste prescription.

Factors associated with a higher risk of tooth caries and decay are:

– Those with a past history of tooth decay and active tooth decay.

– The elderly.

– Those on medication containing sugar.

– Dry mouth sufferers, or those on medications that cause dry mouth.

– People undergoing cancer treatment causing dry mouth.

– People with diabetes.

– Those having orthodontic treatment.

– People with receding gums or those who have had insufficient restorations.

– Those with poor oral hygiene.

– People with high sugar diets.

– Those who do not attend a dental appointment regularly.

If you think any of these apply to you, then get in touch with your dentist to discuss whether a high fluoride toothpaste prescription might be advisable for you to prevent long-term oral and dental problems in the future.

How do I get it? The best way to assess whether you might benefit from a high fluoride toothpaste is to book an appointment with your dentist. They will be able to evaluate whether it is the right treatment for you or not. If you would rather not attend a physical appointment with us right now, then we urge you to still get in touch with us. Our phone lines can be very busy at this time answering other queries from our patients, but you can still contact us here via email or by using our online query form and we will get back to you.

As always, the team at Kennett Road Dental Practice wish you peace and safety, especially in these difficult times. Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you soon.

3 Tooth Whitening Fads
That Actually Harm Your Teeth

Woman Brushing Teeth In Bathroom

We would all like to wave a magic wand or snap our fingers and suddenly have whiter teeth, but in reality, some of our “time and money saving” tooth whitening tricks are actually making our teeth worse.

Dental life hacks or DIY tooth whitening are popular searches on social media or video hosting sites. Let’s be honest, there’s not much we wouldn’t try to improve our aesthetic look if it’s cheap and easy. Here’s the thing though, some of these so-called “life hacks” can actually make your pearly whites more yellow in the long run. Desired effect? We think not

Here are three popular dental fads we think you should be careful of, for your overall dental health and the appearance of your teeth.

1. Hydrogen peroxide.

You know the stuff that hairdressers use to bleach people’s hair, the dangerous chemical they must wear gloves while handling and dispose of responsibly? Yes, people are applying undiluted peroxide to their teeth in a DIY attempt to bleach them. These people are seriously misinformed if they think this is safe to do. Perhaps they thought that because some shop-bought whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes contain small amounts of this chemical, that a purer form would do the job quicker. Although peroxide does make whatever it touches lighter, it’s not as simple as that.

While small, diluted amounts of the chemical are safe and therefore used in approved dental treatments, high levels of the substance can harm your teeth, your gums and potentially your health. It’s essentially bleach, after all. Healthline advises that “peroxide can cause significant damage to the protective enamel of teeth if used too often or in too-high concentrations. More serious side effects of hydrogen peroxide whitening include inflammation of the teeth roots in the gums. This problem can lead to secondary issues, such as infection, which can be expensive to treat.” We can’t stress this enough: do not put pure hydrogen peroxide on your teeth, no matter what you’ve seen on tiktok.

Woman using charcoal toothbrush and charcoal toothpaste

2. Charcoal

Healthline describes activated charcoal as “one of the biggest trends in the world of wellness and cosmetics” and with good reason. It’s become a very trendy ingredient in dental products and skincare alike in recent years, but does it work and is it safe to use? Well according to Healthline.com activated charcoal powder may have some benefits however, it has not been proven that whitening is one of them. They write that “charcoal toothpaste is too abrasive for everyday use. Using a material that’s too abrasive on your teeth can wear down your enamel. This may make your teeth look more yellow by exposing the dentin, a calcified yellow tissue. It can also make your teeth more sensitive.” So, like the peroxide, it can wear away the enamel on your teeth, leaving them open to further staining. It has also been suggested that the black particles could become lodged in the crevasses they create in the surface of the tooth which will make your teeth appear darker from a distance.

Something else to consider is that lots of charcoal toothpastes don’t contain fluoride so it should never be used as a substitute for actual toothpaste. Using charcoal toothpaste instead of a dentist approved one could leave your teeth unprotected from the sugar and acid in your diet, erode the surface of the enamel and increase the sensitivity of your teeth. It’s not what you’d call ideal.


3. Baking soda.

With or without lemon juice, homemade whitening solutions containing baking soda can be harmful to your teeth enamel. It’s a tooth whitening hack that’s been around for years. It’s said to work because of its abrasive quality but that is what could turn your white smile yellow! Baking soda can create cracks in your enamel which can lead to accelerated staining of your teeth. We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that’s not the look you’re after.

Lots of DIY whitening concoctions combine lemon juice with baking powder which is further folly because we all know that fruit juice (particularly citrus) is highly acidic and therefore bad for your teeth. Lemon yellow is the hue you’ll end up with if you use these “home remedies” for too long.

The truth is that there are no cutting corners when it comes to dental health. A good fluoride toothpaste, brushing twice daily and dental check-ups are what you need for good dental health and believe us that it’s far better to have good dental health than to hide poor dental health behind an artificial white screen that won’t last.

If you feel that you do want a whiter smile though, we recommend talking to your dentist about the treatments they offer. Our takeaway advice is to stick to approved dental products and to seek professional advice on whitening your teeth from reputable establishments like us if you wish to. After all, it’s your smile and we think it’s too important to gamble with.

New Year, New Me: How Fad Diets Can Hurt Your Health

In January, we’re all tempted to make those resolutions, you know the ones we mean: the booze inspired ones. At midnight on New Year’s Eve with a glass in our hands we tend to set difficult and somewhat unrealistic goals to make the next morning that much harder. In addition to a fabulous headache, you now have the responsibility of carrying out your plans in arguably the worst mental health month of the calendar. January is difficult enough to negotiate what with the British weather, the come down from Christmas, the sugar low as you run out of Quality Street and the long slog of uninterrupted work looming ahead till summer. That’s without having declared on social media or to your friends and family that you’ll lose ten pounds by February 1st. Unless you’re pregnant and due in January, it’s going to be difficult to accomplish.

Many people embrace fad diets to lose weight in an attempt to keep to their badly thought-out resolutions. Although losing a few pounds can be very beneficial to your health if you happen to be overweight, some of the most popular fad diets can have a detrimental effect on other aspects of your health. So, before you sign up to the juice cleanses or start pounding back the diet shakes, read our advice on what to avoid if you’re wanting to improve your overall health this January.

1 The juice cleanse: Fruit juice is good for us. It contains all sorts of vitamins and minerals that we might not otherwise get in our diets. Nutritionally speaking, orange juice, or other juices rich in vitamin C, can help you absorb more iron from the foods you eat. This can help fight anaemia and helps your body to create more haemoglobin to make blood. Important stuff, right? So why would a diet consisting solely or mainly of juice be bad?  Everyday health writes that fruit juice is “high in sugar and can also be quite acidic”.

Sugar can attack your dental health like nothing else, as we all know, but you might be surprised at how much sugar your average fruit juices contain. Many have added sugar in addition to high levels of natural sugar. There’s also the acid to consider. Acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, (the hard white part) which protects the other layers of your teeth. If the enamel gets damaged too much it can expose the yellow layer underneath the enamel, making your smile less white and putting your teeth at greater risk from bacteria and sugar erosion.

Juice diet and teeth

2 The shake diet: We all know someone who knows someone who has had success on the Slim fast diet or a similar program. The clue is in the name, it helps you to slim down fast but at what cost? Not only are quick fix diets proven to discourage long-term weight loss, but the sheer amount of sugar some diet shakes contain can make them unhealthy things to drink at all. Not to mention the chocolaty meal replacement bars some companies offer.

Nutritionist Melissa Eboli says, “You’d be better off taking a scoop of sugar and adding it to water than drinking all of the chemical non-food, sugar-laden ingredients that make up SlimFast.” Not that we’re suggesting you actually do that. We don’t. Seriously, don’t do that. But do be aware of what the beverages you’re consuming contain and spare a moment for your teeth before you splash out on a new shake regime.

3 Smoothies: Blenders are a popular New Year’s impulse buy since many people think that smoothies are the easiest way to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you consume. Although ingesting more fruit and vegetables is a healthy thing to consider, we urge you to think how they can be added to your diet, rather than your blender. Smoothies, like fruit juices can contain a lot of sugar and not just the naturally occurring sugars found in the fruits themselves. After a while, people find themselves wanting to make their smoothies more creative and diverse. Some people add a spoonful of peanut butter, honey or a flavouring of some kind. These sugar rich concoctions aren’t necessarily good for your body and they aren’t great for your teeth either.

The NHS recommends that if you do choose to drink smoothies, then drink them at mealtimes “as they can cause tooth decay” and drinking them with food limits the damage. According to Everyday Health, “If you drink slowly, you allow the liquid to have more contact with your teeth”, which allows more time for the acid and sugar to damage your enamel. So, if you do knock back the kale extracts in the New Year, make sure you don’t sip them. Trust us, no one wants to make a kale smoothie last any longer than it has to anyway.

4 Dry January: After the over-indulgence of the festive season, it’s quite usual for people to resolve to cut back on the booze for a while and there’s nothing wrong with that. Wine can contain up to a calorie per millimetre which can add up to a lot, so cutting the alcohol can certainly help your weight loss. We’re not suggesting that having a dry January would hurt you, but we would advise you to be mindful of what you are replacing it with.

Some people are of the opinion that if you give up alcohol, it gives you carte blanche over all other beverages and even food too. Cutting out beer and wine will be harder for some more than others but what is important to remember is that alcohol is not the only drink that can be bad for you. Without a glass of wine in your hand you might find a sugary tea or coffee there instead or an acidic fizzy drink. Some people also find that they eat more chocolate and sweet treats to stop feeling deprived without the booze. Dry January is a fine idea, just make sure you make wise decisions about what else you’re eating and drinking.

We’re not saying you can’t drink juice or smoothies or abstain from booze if you want to. We are advising you to be mindful of what you are eating and drinking this January. No matter how tempting it is to try to cut a few corners in pursuit of a trimmer physique, there is no substitute for a healthy, varied diet and an exercise program you can stick to. This is your health we’re talking about and, in our opinion, there are no risks worth taking where that is concerned.

Be sensible this January and stay safe.

Should I go to the Dentist in Tier 2?

With confusion surfacing over government advice coming out of the second lockdown, we wanted to direct your attention to the facts around dental care during the pandemic and outline when you should and shouldn’t visit the dentist.

What does the government say?

According to the government website, “medical and dental services” are allowed to remain open.

So, why are dental practices permitted to stay open when so many other businesses are having to shut? Well, because dental care is essential. Tooth and mouth care are a basic right of every British citizen and pandemic or not, the government acknowledges the chaos that would reign if people could no longer access that basic care. Much of the routine dental care that you receive is preventative. Regular dental checks can help to prevent gum disease, tooth loss and even mouth cancer.

The NHS website says, that “gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease” and the key to beating oral cancer is to catch it early. See our blog post for mouth cancer action month here for more information on the risks of oral cancer. So, you see routine care is essential for preventing emergency dental care and also emergency medical care. While hospitals are observing every safety measure possible to protect patients, it is by far safer not to have to attend hospital with the current pandemic in progress. It would make more sense to attend necessary dental appointments to prevent health complications which could lead to making an unplanned trip to hospital.

The NHS recommends that “A check-up allows your dentist to see if you have any dental problems and helps you keep your mouth healthy. Leaving problems untreated could make them more difficult to treat in the future, so it’s best to deal with problems early, or, if possible, prevent them altogether.” There you have it. Preventative care is essential care.

Is it safe?

At Kennett Road Dental Practice, your safety and wellbeing is our first concern. We are making changes to our usual operating practices to improve hygiene and promote physical distancing where possible. We want to assure you that our practise is a safe place to be and are observing every safety measure possible to safeguard you and our staff against the coronavirus.

We have excellent infection control procedures along with a robust triaging policy to ensure the safety of both patients and staff. Our dedicated team are very familiar with the infection control procedures being used to manage the virus as they are much the same as those that have been applied by our practice for many years. We would also like to assure you that we have all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and will continue to follow national guidelines and standards to the letter.

We advise that you wear a mask at all times while inside the dental practice and only remove your mask at the request of one of our team. This is to protect both our staff and our patients. Please also ensure you arrive at the correct time for your appointment to promote social distancing inside the practice and be sure to use the available alcohol disinfectant when entering the building. We are maintaining high standards of infection control by sanitising all surfaces in treatment rooms between patients and we have a good supply of PPE which we use to great effect.

We are working hard to make Kennett Road Dental Practice as safe for you and us as it can possibly be. However, if you show any signs or symptoms of coronavirus including loss of taste or smell, a high temperature or a new dry cough then you should not attend your appointment. Instead call us on 01865 761965 to cancel, reschedule or discuss a remote course of treatment if you require emergency care. If you are feeling well and don’t have any symptoms of covid-19, the full list of which can be found here, then you should attend your dental appointments as normal.

What’s the difference between a routine procedure and an emergency?

You can attend your dental practise for emergency and routine procedures but in case you were wondering which category your dental issue falls into, then here is a list of what constitutes a dental emergency according to NHSinform.scot

“Dental emergencies include, but are not limited to:

  • toothache or mouth pain
  • abscesses and swellings in and around the mouth
  • bleeding
  • trauma
  • non-healing ulcers that have no obvious cause and last for several weeks”

According to the NHS, routine dental appointments could be check-ups. Or appointments regarding “fillings, teeth cleaning (scale and polish), [and] having a tooth taken out” also count as routine procedures.

So, whatever dental care you need during COVID-19 and beyond, give us a call and be assured that we are doing all we can to ensure your safety while maintaining your oral health. We encourage all our patients not to leave any dental concerns you have untreated. Not accessing the dental care you need in a timely fashion could lead to other, more serious health issues which we know you would wish to avoid at all costs.

Mouth Cancer: What you need to know.

Dental Check Oxfordshire

Here at Kennett Road Dental Practice, we’re supporting mouth cancer action month, but you can be vigilant all year round by keeping an eye out for signs and symptoms of mouth cancer.

So, what is mouth cancer? According to the NHS “mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, is where a tumour develops in a part of the mouth. It may be on the surface of the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth (palate), the lips or gums.”

If you haven’t heard much about oral cancer, you’re not alone, but according to the Oral Health Foundation, Mouth cancer currently kills more per year than cervical and testicular cancer combined. So, it really is important.

Because early diagnosis is so critical, we want you to be aware of the signs of oral cancer. Dentalhealth.org suggests that “with early diagnosis, the chances of surviving mouth cancer are nine out of ten. So, it is vital that you know what to look out for.

  • Ulcers which do not heal within three weeks
  • Lumps or swellings in the mouth, neck, or head area
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • unexplained loose teeth or sockets that do not heal after extractions
  • unexplained, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue

These are the symptoms of mouth cancer you can look out for yourselves. If you notice any of these signs, then make an appointment with your dentist or doctor today. One of the most important things you can do to minimise your risk of late diagnosis is to attend regular appointments with your dentist who is trained to detect signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key so it’s essential to see your dentist frequently and especially if you notice any changes in your mouth.

Mouth Cancer Action Month Oxfordshire

Another thing you could do is to spend two minutes watching this video on how to carry out a self-assessment for mouth cancer on yourself at home.  We’re all busy but taking two minutes out of your day seems to be a low price to pay for your wellbeing and peace of mind. Although this is no substitute for professional medical care, it can help you spot any signs early on.

“If in doubt, get checked out” is the catchy slogan from the Oral Health Foundation and it’s a good job it is catchy because even though cases of mouth cancer are rising rapidly compared with ten years ago, general knowledge about oral cancer is dangerously low. The State of Mouth Cancer report indicates that cases of oral cancer have risen in the last ten years by 49% and 135% in the last two decades.

Another worrying statistic is that although 88% of the British public have heard of mouth cancer, 75% do not know what the main signs and symptoms are. Visit the mouth cancer action month page to find out how you can help raise awareness.

Although there is no way to absolutely prevent oral cancer, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk of developing it. The NHS advises that “the leading causes of mouth cancer in the UK are tobacco and alcohol.” If you drink more than is recommended or smoke at all, then you are increasing your risk of mouth cancer. The Oral Health Foundation writes that “up to 90% of all mouth cancers are linked to lifestyle factors”, and that smoking can increase your risk by up to ten times.

If you smoke and want help quitting, then click here for advice and help from the National Health Service. There may never be a good time to quit, but there is a right time and it’s now.

Other risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing mouth cancer include:

  • chewing tobacco or other smokeless tobacco products
  • chewing betel nuts with or without added tobacco
  • an unhealthy diet
  • the human papillomavirus (HPV)

With oral cancer cases rising, it’s never too late to change your lifestyle for the better and for the benefit of your loved ones.

So, be vigilant in checking for changes in your mouth, decrease your risk factors if you can and ensure you make and attend regular appointments with your dentist. Be mouth cancer aware and share your knowledge to help others.

Don’t forget: “If in doubt get checked out”. Throughout November, the Kennett Dental team are offering free mouth cancer checks, so get in touch today to book your appointment!

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