How Mouth Aware Are You? 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.

The dental practice, 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 says 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 Dental Practice says: “Early diagnosis transforms our chances of beating mouth cancer from 50 per cent to 90 per cent 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.

With around 8,300 Brits diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, the disease is one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers, with cases rising by a third in the last decade alone.

Survival rates of mouth cancer have not 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


National Smile Month Campaign

It’s National Smile Month, a month-long campaign designed to create more public awareness about oral health. Smile Essential Dental Practice in Leicester along with thousands of other individuals and organisations The campaign aims to promote 3 key messages: • Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste. • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. National Smile Month isn’t just about education and stressing the importance of a healthy mouth. The key to the success of the campaign is that we have lots of fun whilst doing it! By taking part in National Smile Month Smile Essential, are helping to create a healthier, happier and smilier world. The campaign channels positivity and promotes the true value of a smile, not only for its benefits towards physical health but mental wellbeing too. Our teeth have such an important role to play in our lives. They help us chew and digest food, they help us to talk and speak clearly and they also give our face its shape. A smile also has other day-to-day benefits. It can give us greater confidence, as well as influence our social lives, careers and relationships. National Smile Month is our chance for us to take a fresh look at our current oral health and make any necessary changes required. Over recent years, more evidence has been gathered suggesting that poor oral health also puts you at an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, dementia and complications during pregnancy. The best way to maintain great oral health is to: • Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste • Clean in-between your teeth once daily with floss or interdental brushes • Visit your dentist regularly • Chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking, especially sugary foods, to help protect your teeth and gums in between meals. • Wait an hour after eating or drinking anything before brushing as then enamel will be softened and you could be brushing away tiny particles. • Avoid snacking and try to only have sugary foods and drinks at mealtimes, reducing the time your teeth come under attack.

National Smile Month Competition!

We are celebrating National Smile Month, a month-long campaign between 13 May and 13 June 2019. National Smile Month is the largest and longest-running campaign to promote good oral health and share positive messages and engage others to develop and maintain a healthy mouth and smile they can be proud of. During this month dental and other health professionals and organisations, try to highlight three key messages, all of which go a long way in helping us develop and maintain a healthy mouth.
  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on how much sugary food and drink you have, and how often you have them.
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
Ultimately, the aim is to help us achieve good physical and mental wellbeing by improving our oral health.
To coincide with National Smile Month we are running a competition for our patients to share a photo on Facebook using the smiley station we have set up in our reception area.
To take part snap and share a selfie at our ‘smiley station’ and share on Facebook tagging us @smileessential and we will share on our Facebook Page.
Our team are on hand to help you take a photo and show you how to tag us. Please follow our page for updates and if you don’t see your photo on our timeline drop us a message so you don’t miss out on your chance of winning the fabulous Fortnum and Mason hamper!
All entries will be placed into a hat and the winner picked at random on the 13th June and announced on Facebook. Please follow our page for updates and if you don’t see your photo on our timeline drop us a message so you don’t miss your chance of winning the fabulous Fortnum and Mason hamper.
Terms and Conditions This competition is open to Smile Essential Patients only, the last day people can take part and upload their smiley selfie is Wednesday, June 12th , we cannot accept entries after this date, it is the patients responsibility to ensure that they tag us correctly, we will share all patients ‘smiley selfies’ unless inappropriate on our Facebook page (, therefore patients can check we have seen it by looking on our Facebook page and looking for their photo, in the event we have not shared it and the patient still wishes to take part they may message the photo to our page and we can share that way. The photo remains the property of the person sharing it and they have the responsibility to ensure any permissions required to take an image of any person/persons in the selfie photo have been sought by the person sharing and tagging us to take part in the competition. The competition closes on Wednesday 12th June and the winner will be announced on Thursday 13th June 2019. There is only one prize which is the hamper, the prize cannot be exchanged and there is no cash alternative. The prize must be collected from the practice within 6 weeks of winning. Go to our Facebook page...

We now offer Invisalign…

Whatever your age you don't have to put up with crooked teeth! If you have always wanted straighter teeth we could help. We have been offering cosmetic fitted braces for some time now and we delighted to announce we have just added Invisalign clear braces to our list too. Here are some frequently asked questions about Invisalign we hear at our Leicester dental practice How does Invisalign Work? Invisalign works by gently exerting pressure on your teeth to move them into the correct position. Each aligner is changed every 7-14 days so it can adjust the pressure in the right spots as your teeth move. Is Invisalign really discreet? Absolutely. The clear aligners make them virtually undetectable at a social distance. They are one of the most discreet cosmetic brace system available on the market. Will Invisalign affect my lifestyle? You should wear your Invisalign aligners day and night but they can be removed to eat, drink and to brush and floss your teeth. This is often a big bonus for patients that have previously had conventional orthodontics as you have to adjust the food you eat. Does it hurt? It's generally considered less painful than traditional fitted brace systems. Most people being treated with Invisalign report some discomfort when changing their aligners. This usually dissipates shortly after. Will Invisalign work for me? Invisalign isn't a suitable treatment option for everyone. That's why we always invite people in for a complimentary consultation. This will allow our Leicester dentists to have a chat with you to see if Invisalign would work for you and they would also advise you of your other options, including if an alternative treatment with an orthodontist would be more suitable. If it is decided that this is the right treatment for you, we will invite you back for a more detailed assessment. How long does Invisalign take? This depends on the position of your teeth and the complexity of your case. Invisalign can take as little as 3 months. Your Invisalign provider will be able to provide you with an approximate timeline once the Invisalign treatment process had begun. How much does Invisalign Cost? Again this depends on your personalised Invisalign treatment plan. Though your Invisalign provider will be able to give you an approximate cost at a complimentary consultation. It's important when looking at the cost of Invisalign treatment you check what is covered. Such as retainers following the treatment to keep your teeth in place and also any added benefits such as free teeth whitening. Arrange your complimentary consultation today...  

Meet Gurpreet…

Tell us a bit about yourself? I'm a local girl I was born and educated in Loughborough and then went over to Sheffield to embark on my dental degree. I have been a dentist now for nearly twenty years and have worked in numerous dental practices in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Your role at the dental practice? I am a Dental Associate at Smile Essential and alongside my experienced colleagues, I help to provide dental care to patients from routine examinations to a variety of dental treatments. These include simple fillings to more complex treatments such as crown and bridge work and cosmetic treatment including tooth whitening and adult orthodontics. Your favourite part? I especially enjoy the cosmetic side of dentistry - there's an immense amount of satisfaction in providing patients with treatments that allow s them to feel more confident about themselves and their smiles. What do you like about being part of the Smile Essential team? This might sound like a cliché - but it's the feeling that I belong to a family here. I feel a valued member of the team. This perhaps explains why the majority of staff have been here years! When you were little what did you dream of doing when you grew up? A backing vocalist for Wham or Madonna. Favourite film? Goodfellas or anything by Martin Scorcese. Favourite TV programme? Any good comedy - Modern Family. How important do you think a good smile is? A good healthy smile is essential in allowing people to go about their daily lives with that inner confidence. Good dental health is vital to ensure that we can function as we should e.g. so we can eat drink and speak normally - otherwise this can have a major impact on our daily lives. This is why regular dental visits are so important. Seeing a dentist regularly ensures that possible problems can be spotted early and corrected preventing major problems in the future.

Dental Hygiene and Therapy at Smile Essential Dental Practice in Leicester …

At Smile Essential Dental Practice in Leicester, we are proud to now offer the services of a dental hygienist and therapist.  Why visit a dental hygienist? 
  • They are specially trained in the prevention and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease which is the main cause of adult tooth loss and also to give advice on all aspects of good oral health.
  • Skill and experience gained focusing on all aspects of gums and soft tissues.
  • A dental hygienist will have more time to spend giving personalised oral hygiene advice. 
  • Demonstrate effective tooth brushing technique which is important to have a healthy mouth and avoiding damage
What is the difference between a dental hygienist and a dental hygienist and therapist?  A dental hygienist and therapist in addition to the duties of a dental hygienist can also carry out minor dental treatment. Which means in addition to gum related treatments they have also completed appropriate training to perform: simple fillings, replace temporary fillings and crowns, applying sealants and fluorides to teeth to help prevent tooth decay, take x-rays and apply de-sensitising materials.  The benefits of seeing a dental hygienist and therapists  A healthy mouth is vital for your health and will significantly reduce your need for dental treatment in the future. Gum therapy in Leicester is not only about treating existing disease but it focuses on preventing dental disease and it causes you problems in the future.   The stages of gum disease  The first sign you may notice of gum disease also known as gingivitis is bleeding when brushing or you may notice that your gums are red or swollen. At this stage gingivitis is reversible with the right dental hygiene service and home care routine.  When gingivitis is left untreated or there for a long period of time it can develop further into a type of infection known as periodontitis. Periodontitis affects the entire area surrounding the tooth which can lead to discomfort and difficulty when eating. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth.  Eventually, as the disease progresses the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw diminishes resulting in the teeth becoming loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out and may require extensive dental procedures to replace the missing teeth.  By seeing our dental hygienist and therapist in Leicester and following their treatment and advice you will: 
  • Minimise your risk of tooth loss 
  • Reduce the risk of developing tooth decay and need for fillings
  • Minty fresh breath and sparkly clean teeth
  • Better overall health and wellbeing
To take advantage of our dental hygienist and therapist get in touch here...

Meet Rehab…

Tell us a bit about yourself? My name is Rehab I am 23 years old and I have just graduated from University. What's your role at Smile Essential? I am a 'Decontamination Operative', so I'm in charge of cleaning and sterilising all of the instruments used. I also help the other team members so that the dental surgeries run smoothly. What's your most favourite part of the job? My favourite part is knowing that I did my job well because that has an effect on the practice in general. I take pride that people come into lovely clean surgeries. How about your least favourite part? The heat! We use two autoclaves to sterilise instruments and things can get pretty hot. It's challenging on hot days. What do you like about being part of the Smile Essential team? I like that everyone is so close. We're like a small family. When you were little what did you dream you'd do when you grew up? I wanted to be an artist. I still do paint and draw in my spare time. What's your favourite film? It's called the 'Train to Busan' it's a South Korean horror film that has been quite popular. Favourite TV programme? My favourite TV programme is 'That 70's Show', there are 8 seasons and I've watched it 3 times! How important do you think a good smile is? I think it's very important. It is one of the first things people always notice about you. A great smile helps you to feel confident too. Why is good dental health important? Poor dental health can have an effect on your overall health. If you want to be a healthy start with good dental hygiene. How important are regular dental visits? They are vital. The dentist will help to keep you on track with your dental health. Remember they can get to the places you can't. Find out more about the rest of our team...

A special note from the Oral Health Foundation…

With your help we reached 3,021,377 people with information and awareness about mouth cancer.

To the thousands of you who supported us during Mouth Cancer Action Month – thank you. Your activities and events were truly inspiring and undoubtedly had an impact on how much people know about this truly terrible disease. 

At the Oral Health Foundation, we want to the get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage by raising awareness of the disease while encouraging everybody to be more vigilant about changes in their mouth. 

As an entirely independent charity, the Oral Health Foundation relies on the generosity of its supporters to continue its mission and address the inequalities which exist in mouth cancer.

Our vision is to live in a world where nobody loses their live to mouth cancer. 

Your donation will support us in our year-round efforts improve the public’s knowledge of mouth cancer, allow us to provide even more advice and support while enabling us to continue our political work so that we can reduce those affected by mouth cancer while improving the quality of treatment and support in aftercare.  

If our work can save just one of the 2,700 lives that are lost to mouth cancer every year, then it is a more than worthy cause.

Visit to learn more about our campaigns and activities.

Mouth Cancer Action Month Key Facts…

As Mouth Cancer Action Month approaches its final week we thought we would summarise some key facts and give details on further reading. The signs and symptoms of mouth cancer include: • A mouth ulcer that does not heal within three weeks. • White or red patches in the mouth. • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth, head or neck. • Any persistent ‘hoarseness’.

Early diagnosis is vital. It increases our chances of beating the disease and gives us a much higher quality of life. Self-checks and regular dental visits are extremely important for spotting mouth cancer in its initial stages. If in doubt, get checked out!

Causes of Mouth Cancer Smoking Around one in six (17%) oral cavity cancers are directly caused by smoking. The risk of being diagnosed with mouth cancer for a smoker is almost double (91%) that of a never-smoker. Alcohol Drinking alcohol to excess is responsible for around a third of all mouth cancers. Those who drink more than 10 units of alcohol a week could be increasing the risk of mouth cancer by 81%. For those who heavily drink alcohol and also smoke the risk increases by 30 times. HPV The human papillomavirus (HPV) type-16 and 18 are linked to around three in four (73%) of oropharyngeal cancers and more than one in ten (12%) oral cavity and hypopharynx cancers. Risk is higher in those with more sexual partners. Age and gender As we get older, our cells and DNA become more damaged. This is either biological or from exposure to the other risk factors. We do not know why mouth cancer rates are higher in men, however, it could be due to greater exposure to risk factors. The other risk factors associated with mouth cancer include: areca (betel) nut, paan masala (Gutkha), chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, x-rays and gamma radiation, asbestos, salted fish, formaldehyde, wood dust, overexposure to sunlight, environmental smoke. One of the most important factors for early diagnosis of mouth cancer is self-examination at home. The other is to maintain regular dental visits, where visual mouth cancer checks are done as part of the routine check-up. If you would like more information on then further reading is available. The State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2018/2019 is the United Kingdom's first comprehensive review into mouth cancer. The report has been released by the Oral Health Foundation and Simplyhealth Professionals as part of November's Mouth Cancer Action Month. The State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2018/2019 looks at the very latest statistics for the disease. Read the report here...