Medway Council is encouraging residents to recognise the signs of mouth cancer as part of a national awareness campaign.
Mouth Cancer Action Month is held in November each year and is supported by the Oral Health Foundation and the Mouth Cancer Foundation.
Around 60,000 people will be diagnosed with mouth cancer over the next decade and early diagnosis is very important for successful treatment.
Residents are urged never to ignore any of the following signs and symptoms:
- mouth ulcers which do not heal in three weeks
- red and white patches in the mouth or on the tongue
- unusual lumps or swellings anywhere in the mouth, head or neck area
- changes in your voice, such as a husky voice or difficulty swallowing which persists for more than six weeks
If you notice anything that you’re concerned about, book an appointment with your dentist or GP.
Residents are encouraged to maintain good oral health by visiting the dentist - it’s free for children under 18 and for young people under 19 in full time education. Pregnant women and mothers with a child under 12 months also receive free NHS dental treatment.
If you have not had a dental check in the last six months, make an appointment with your local practice. Go to the dentist regularly or as often as your dentist advises.
It's incredibly important to look after your oral health
Cllr David Brake, Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, covering Public Health, said: “It is incredibly important to look after your oral health and I would encourage residents to visit their dentist regularly or register with one if they have not had a recent check-up. I would also encourage residents to follow our top tips to ensure they continue to look after their teeth.”
Top tips for looking after your teeth:
- Choose food and drinks with no added sugar and avoid sugary food and drink between meals and before bed
- Clean your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Don’t rinse your teeth after brushing them as it washes away the fluoride needed to help protect teeth
- Replace your toothbrush at least every three months, or when the bristles are worn and frayed. Damaged bristles will not keep your teeth and gums fully clean
- Adults are advised to clean between their teeth using interdental brushes or dental floss