Dental health checks at Salvation Army

Date published: 01 December 2010

The Oral Health Promotion Team from NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale held a dental health event at the Salvation Army last week to promote Mouth Cancer Action Month.

The team talked to visitors about how smoking and excessive drinking can increase the risk of developing oral cancer, high blood pressure and being overweight. They also managed to successfully register 35 people who attended the event with a dental practice within the Rochdale area.

The signs and symptoms of mouth cancer include mouth ulcers that will not heal and white patches. Each year, 5,000 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer and it kills almost 2,000 people – that’s one death every five hours. Yet better awareness and early detection can save lives, with the chances of survival improving to more than 90% if it is found early enough.

Janet Dickinson, Oral Health Promotion Officer, organised the event: “Many people who use the Salvation Army Hostel in Rochdale are homeless or disadvantaged and often don’t access health services on a regular basis. This means that they may have health problems without even realising, so we decided to hold an open event where people could come and be checked for signs of oral cancer.

“We also used the event as an opportunity to educate visitors about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and how this is linked to having good oral health. Every single person we saw at the event were not registered with dental practice and so we were able to register them on the spot.”

The team is planning to hold regular drop in events at the hostel every six weeks, so that clients can have regular dental checks and health advice.

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