Keeping your mouth as healthy as your smile

Staff outside the mobile dental van in Newton Abbot.
Staff outside the mobile dental van in Newton Abbot.

Published: 18 October 2016

Local residents of all ages are being urged to visit the mobile dental van visiting town centres next month and have a free mouth cancer check.

As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s Special Care Dental Service will be providing free screening to raise awareness of the disease and its signs and symptoms.

People are encouraged to drop-in to the dental van which will be at the following locations:

  • Tuesday 8 November (10am – 3pm) Victoria Street, Paignton
  • Wednesday 9 November (10am – 3pm) Bank Street, Newton Abbot (outside Austins)
  • Thursday 10 November (10am – 3pm) Market Square car park, Dartmouth
  • Friday 11 November (10am – 3pm) Lower Union Street, Torquay (outside Primark)

Mouth Cancer Action Month highlights that more than 6,000 people annually are diagnosed with mouth cancer, half of which will lose their life to the disease. Early warning signs include mouth ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual changes in the mouth.

Sally Lacey, Oral Health Educator for the Special Care Dental Service at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The oral health checks are free and are a perfect opportunity for people to get their oral health checked as well as getting information and advice on how to maintain good oral health.

“Attending a dentist regularly is not only important for the health and longevity of your teeth, but dentists, as a matter of course, also check your mouth for signs of cancer. Spotting the signs and symptoms early is key to the successful treatment of the disease. The screening however, does not replace a normal dental check-up in a dental clinic.

“Screening for mouth cancer is quick, easy and typically consist of an examination of the tongue, gums, lips, inside cheeks, and the roof and floor of the mouth.

“Anyone can attend the drop in session and if you haven’t had a check-up with your dentist recently I would strongly recommend coming along to one of the drop-in sessions.”

It is recommended that you should visit your dentist at intervals recommended by your dentist. This could be, for example, every six, 12 or 24 months. If you are not registered with a dentist, NHS dentist places are available. For details of practices in your local area please contact the Dental helpline on 03330 063 300.