Monthly Archives: November 2020

Be mouthaware: The 45 second check that could save your life

Are you able to recognise the changes in your mouth? That’s the question posed by Smile Essential as they support a charity campaign to raise awareness of mouth cancer.

Smile Essential, based on Narborough Road, is urging Leicester residents to be more mouthaware and recognise the early warning signs of mouth cancer, ahead of November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.

With awareness of the disease remaining alarmingly low, Smile Essential say that a simple 45-second check is often all that’s needed to identify anything unusual and be able to then seek professional guidance.

Dr. Niket Patel from Smile Essential says: “Early diagnosis transforms our chances of beating mouth cancer from 50 per cent to 90 percent so it is crucial that we know what to look out for and that we do not hesitate in seeking advice from a health professional.

“A mouth ulcer that does not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area, can all be potential signs of mouth cancer so it’s important to be aware of any changes occurring inside your mouth.

“Quite often it is easier to notice lumps and bumps on the outside of the body or to dismiss a mouth ulcer as benign. Most of us will spend at least a few minutes every day in front of a mirror brushing our teeth so while we’re there it makes sense to have a quick look inside the mouth.

“If you keep a lookout for these symptoms then a simple 45-second check really could save your life.

“If you notice anything out of the ordinary, please speak to your dentist or a doctor.”

Mouth Cancer Action Month takes place throughout November and is organised by the Oral Health Foundation.

Last year, 8,722 people in the UK were diagnosed with mouth cancer.  The number of new cases has doubled in the last 20 years, making it one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers.

Survival rates of mouth cancer have barely improved in the last 20 years and the oral health charity is concerned that too many are mouth cancers are being diagnosed at a late stage, significantly reducing our chance to beat the disease.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE added: “Mouth cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheek, throat and gums.

“Mouth cancer can have a devastating effect on a person’s life, impacting on their breathing, eating and speech. Reconstructive surgery could also change their appearance while the experience often has an impact on confidence and self-esteem.

“By developing a greater understanding about the early warning signs and symptoms, the lifestyle factors which increase our risk, and recognising where to go if we notice anything unusual inside our mouth, we can detect mouth cancer early. This will not only improve our chances of beating it but will also reduce the amount of invasive surgery needed to treat it.

“During every dental check-up, your dentist will do a visual examination for mouth cancer and look for anything that might be a cause for concern. That’s why it’s so important to keep regular dental check-ups – it’s not just about the health of our teeth and gums – a trip to the dentist could really be a lifesaver.”

To find out more information about mouth cancer and Mouth Cancer Action Month, please visit

Here’s how your oral health affects your overall health…

The mouth is one the main gateway into your body people are often surprised to discover the connection between having a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Your mouth is full of bacteria in a healthy mouth most of them generally harmless. The body’s natural defences and good oral hygiene practices, such as twice-daily brushing and interdental cleaning help to keep these bacteria under control. But without good dental care, these bacteria can reach very high levels leading to problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Dentists and scientists are looking to see if good oral hygiene practices can also help to defend you against COVID-19. 

Having poor dental health has been associated with the following health conditions:


Gum disease causes inflammation. Inflammation impairs the body’s ability to utilise insulin. By improving your oral health and getting any gum disease treated can help you to bring diabetes under better control.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gum disease bacteria has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Research is still ongoing but the NHS has published some information which makes for interesting reading if your suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. You can read it here…

Heart Disease

It’s clear that heart disease and gum disease often go hand in hand. Up to 91% of patients with heart disease also have periodontitis. It is suspected that periodontitis has a direct role which increases the risk of heart disease. The theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels.


Periodontal disease occurs in patients more susceptible to inflammation — who are also more susceptible to obesity. It is suspected that by treating one it can directly affect the other. More research is continuing in this area.


Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of gum related problems. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. Researchers are looking into the connection but it is believed that gum infection and inflammation, in general, seem to interfere with a fetus’ development in the womb.

Lung Conditions

Gum disease/periodontitis can worsen chronic inflammation in lung diseases such as asthma and COPD. If your gums are inflamed or infected they can send out a “distress signal” that places the rest of the body on alert.

Having a healthy mouth is an absolute must for better overall health. The mouth and body are not separate and both need to be healthy for improved overall health. Taking good care of your mouth can help you live well for longer. 

Excellent care of your oral health is actually pretty straightforward. It’s a combination of good oral health care and daily practices.

• Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

• Floss or use interdental brushes daily

• Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit snacks between meals

• Replace your toothbrush every three or sooner if needed

• Have regular dental health checks

• Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol

If you’re concerned about your oral health please get in touch with us by calling us on 0116 2891317 or emailing us