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Issue Date:- 23 December 2008
Save our dental service - stop playing politics, says charity
leading oral health charity has urged politicians to remember their
duty even as pre-election rhetoric is ratcheted up.
The British Dental Health Foundation advises patients not to be put
off dental check-ups after Tory claims that dentists were
overcharging by as much as 25% to maximise their NHS contracts.
The Foundation lobbied for and has welcomed the newly-appointed
independent committee reviewing NHS dentistry. The charity now warns
politicians to concentrate on finding a solution to problems.
Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter said:- "A million
fewer people are visiting the dentist since the new contracts came
into effect 4 years ago. Clearly dentists are not targeting
contracts for easy money.
The Government must address the issues, and the independent review
is a start. The Opposition and the political elite should get behind
this review and support a positive change.
Negative messages run the risk undermining Britain's oral health. For nearly 40 years we have campaigned with the key message advising
people to visit their dentist regularly - as often as they
It is vital to get regular check-ups from an expert. This is so
important to dental health, its systemic links to overall health
issues such as diabetes, and in checking for mouth cancer, which
kills 1 person every 5 hours in the UK."
coffee a day could keep cancer at bay
leading mouth cancer campaigners have urged the population to wake
up to a pot of coffee and boost chances of keeping clear of cancer.
The British Dental Health Foundation has welcomed news of coffee's
potential after Japanese scientists found a cup of coffee a day made
drinkers half as likely to develop oral cancer.
Drinking habits could prove a real boost in the fight to curb deaths
from mouth cancer, which kills 1 person every 5 hours in the UK.
Cutting down on alcohol is another positive lifestyle choice. Alcohol and tobacco are linked to 80% of cases, while people both
drinking and smoking are 30 times more likely to develop mouth
Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter said:- "Though
quitting smoking and alcohol are the 2 most positive lifestyle
resolutions this New Year, research has shown a coffee a day could
help against mouth cancer. Our Mouth Cancer Action Week
campaign each year also points out the need to visit the dentist
regularly for oral cancer screenings, and if in doubt, get checked
Around 5,000 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer reach year in
the UK. Regular dental visits are vital as symptoms often occur pain
free, so expert check-ups are necessary. Self-examination for
warning signs - including non-healing ulcers, red and white patches
in the mouth or unusual lumps or changes in the mouth - is also an
effective way of staying safe.
The recent coffee research was carried out by a team at Japan's
Tohoku University School of Medicine, and tracked 40,000 people aged
40 to 64 over a 13 year period. Studies showed people drinking at
least a coffee a day were 49% less likely to develop cancers of the
mouth or oesophagus. In their report, published by the American
Journal of Epidemiology, scientists noted an inverse association
between drinking coffee and those at most risk of mouth cancer.
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