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Swadlincote dentists paint their lips blue to raise awareness for mouth cancer

Dentists at Hughes and Owen Dental Care have been getting involved

Giggles could be heard among staff at Hughes and Owen Dental Care this week after dentists painted their lips blue to raise awareness of mouth cancer.

The practice, which has outlets in Belmont Street, in Swadlincote, and Lichfield Street, in Burton, raised a few eyebrows among patients too as staff wore blue lipstick as it urged people to become more aware of their mouths and recognise the early warning signs of mouth cancer.

Dentist at the practice, Mark Watson, said: "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 your 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.

Dentist Mark Watson said he was happy to get involved

"If you keep a look out for these symptoms then a 45-second check really could save your life. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, please speak to your dentist or a doctor."

The light-hearted selfies have been brought out as part of Mouth Cancer Action Month. The number of cases of the disease have grown by a third in the last decade and it is one of very few cancers which are predicted to increase further in the coming year.

Around 7,000 Brits were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, making the disease is one of the UK's fastest increasing cancers. Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage by educating people on the risk factors, signs and symptoms.

Chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: "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 eating and speech. Reconstructive surgery could also change their appearance while the experience often has an impact on confidence and self-esteem.

"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 life saver."

Any other dental practices wanting to take part can do so by taking a photos of themselves with blue lips and share it on Twitter or Instagram using #BlueLipSelfie.

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