The Oral Health Improvement team are launching a campaign to encourage people across Bradford and Airedale to take better care of their teeth, by getting families to smile for summer.
The campaign is launching as part of National Smile Month, the UK’s longest and largest running campaign to promote good oral health which runs from 16 May to 16 June.
The World Health Organisation says cultural factors, such as inadequate fluoride exposure, living in a poor or disadvantaged country, insufficient access to proper dental care, unhealthy diets, poor oral hygiene, tobacco use and excessive alcohol use, can increase the risk of poor dental health.
The Bradford and Airedale Oral Health Needs Assessment (2012) recorded that 16% of Bangladeshi women used smokeless tobacco (paan), and 9% were Bangladeshi men. Followed by Indian men, 4%, Pakistani men, 2% and Pakistani and Indian women at 1%.
Many studies have suggested that South Asian individuals tend to have an increased risk of oral cancer when tobacco chewing.
Dr Chet Trivedy, an A&E consultant at Kingston Hospital in London, believes British Asians could be putting themselves at risk of oral cancer as a result of traditional cultural habits, such as tobacco chewing.
He said “chewing tobacco and betel nuts can increase a person’s risk of developing mouth cancer up to seven times.
“I grew up in the Gujarati (Indian) community in Britain and have seen first-hand the effect that mouth cancer can have on our community, not only through my work but also on a personal level.”
Dr Trivedy, who is also a trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, warns mouth cancer has an incredibly high rate in other Asian nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and Taiwan and the biggest reason for this is traditional paan chewing.
Dental services across the country will be sharing the message that ‘everyone deserves a smile’. Bradford Community Dental service will be extending the campaign throughout the summer months.
The Oral Health team will be working with children’s centres and local dental practices, to give out toothbrushing packs and advice postcards to promote how to brush your teeth well, diet advice to reduce tooth decay, and how to keep the mouth healthy to help prevent risk of oral complications.
According to the Oral Health Foundation, which organises National Smile Month each year, the key ways to maintain good oral health are:
- Brushing teeth for two minutes, last thing at night and one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste.
- Cleaning between teeth every day.
- Cutting down how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
- Visiting a dentist regularly.
Anne-Marie Dorrington, service manager at the Care Trust, said “This is a brilliant opportunity for us to get Bradford smiling for summer and raise awareness of good oral health in the community. The tips we’re sharing are simple and easy to keep up within our busy day-to-day lives but will make a huge difference to people’s overall health in the long term.”
To access a great range of resources around tooth brushing and good oral health for children and young people, visit the Healthy Smiles page at www. best.NHS.uk/self-care/healthy-smiles-oral-health-advice/
To find out more about the Oral Health Improvement team, including how to contact them and the support they offer, you can also visit their team page www. best.NHS.uk/services/oral-health-improvement/.