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Smoking and mouth cancer

New research in the UK has revealed that smokers are unconcerned with the effect of their habit on the oral cavity. In particular they seemed to be aware of the damage // that smoking caused to the tongue or jaw or the lip and even the teeth, but were strangely reluctant to change their habits. This is of particular concern to the oral and maxillofacial surgeons, who are launching a massive awareness campaign as a part of the Mouth Cancer Awareness Week. Surgeons will visit schools and educate adolescents about the effects of smoking on the mouth and in particular its relation to oral cancer. “Smoking among adolescents is rising. Kids want graphic images and powerful images, they like to know that if they do this we will get that,” said Iain Hutchison, a maxillo facial surgeon based at Barts and the Royal London, Hospital and a member of Saving Faces, the Facial Surgery Research Foundation. “We know it is much more difficult to quit smoking than to never start, so this is the place to start making sure these children don’t ever smoke.” He says that children are very impressed with the graphic images and go home and tell their parents about it. “By educating the kids we are also educating their parents about smoking and mouth cancer,” Hutchinson points out. It is estimated that about 4,300 new cases of oral cancer occur in the UK every year and a majority of them are linked to smoking. Research conducted by dental plan provider Denplan shows that smoking and drinking increases the risk of oral cancer by 30 times “Symptoms of mouth cancer vary widely in look and feel, making early self-detection difficult. That’s why regular visits to the dentist remain crucial for detecting the disease because dentists are trained to spot the signs,” said Dental advisor Dr Henr Clover.

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