Throughout November 2022, Smile Together supported the Oral Health Foundation and Mouth Cancer Foundation charities in raising awareness during Mouth Cancer Action Month (MCAM).  Last year 8,772 people in the UK were diagnosed with mouth cancer which means that one person in the UK is diagnosed with mouth cancer every hour.

Colleagues across Smile Together practice locations therefore used the opportunity to encourage our patients and colleagues to be #MouthAware and know how to spot mouth cancer early by regularly checking for any unusual changes in the mouth, as well as fundraise for both charities.

They put up posters and created informative and engaging displays in waiting rooms explaining the risk factors, how to spot signs and symptoms and what to do if you think something’s not quite right. Some of our locations engaged in #BakeSomethingBlue, part of #BlueWednesday, and brought in brightly-coloured treats to sell with all proceeds going to charity. Trainee Dental Nurse Maisie said: “It was great to encourage our colleagues to #BakeSomethingBlue and to fundraise for such a brilliant cause.”

Trainee Dental Nurse Katie helped to organise the display at our Bodmin practice and said: “It was great to help spread awareness for oral cancer, and it was fun making the stand with Maisie and other colleagues. I hope that we may have helped a few people gain knowledge of mouth cancer symptoms.

We ran a competition to see which location could do the best and most informative display for MCAM and Bodmin were the winners. Marketing and Communications Officer Grace, who presented the prize, said: “The Bodmin team put together a fantastic display that was creative, engaging and informative. It was a real team effort and Katie and Maisie did a great job – they were our clear winners this year!”

We shared lots of information and photos through our social media channels, with one patient commenting that: “I got an issue checked out after being referred by my dentist Liz at the Saltash Smile Together surgery. So thankful that Liz listened to my concerns and got me seen within two weeks. Had a thorough check from the oral surgeon and nothing abnormal was detected, just having some blood tests to rule certain things out. So, if in doubt get checked out.”

We also launched our ‘Checking for mouth cancer at sea’ video which we created during our 2022 #SmilesAtSeaUk harbourside tour. The video encourages fishermen to do regular quick and easy self-checks for mouth cancer at sea, checking for any unusual changes in the mouth, but of course anyone can use this video for guidance. A big thanks goes to Mike Dale, Mission Area Officer Cornwall for The Fishermen’s Mission, for starring in the video, to our team for pulling it together and to the team at Fuel for finessing the final edit. We hope it helps to make a difference to fishing communities and we were so pleased to be able to launch this during MCAM.

Take a look at our Patient Hub for a wealth of information about dental treatments and oral health care. Early diagnosis vastly improves oral cancer survival rates, which is why it’s so important to have regular dental check-ups, self-check and seek help if you spot anything that isn’t normal for you.

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