GPs feel the pressure from patients with mouth problems

A new survey of 1000 GPs has found that 87 per cent felt under pressure from the number of patients consulting them with oral health concerns, including toothache and mouth ulcers.

The poll was carried out by ComRes for the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), which represents private dentists. It said dentists were best placed to spot oral problems, including mouth cancer.

The risk of developing mouth cancer is increased by smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking too much alcohol. Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) also increases the risk of some types of mouth cancer,

David Worskett, chair of the ADG, said: "With mouth cancer rates rising to over 7,500 new cases every year, and early detection vital, it is more important than ever that patients get the right care quickly.

"People often think that dentists focus purely on teeth and gums, but actually, they are specialists in most aspects of oral health and we often find GPs refer patients back to their dentist if there is any treatment required.”

Mr Nicholas Kalavrezos, Consultant Maxillofacial/Head & Neck Reconstructive Surgeon states: "Oral cancer is currently a major global health issue. In developing countries oral cavity cancer is estimated to be the third most common malignancy after cancer of the cervix and stomach.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter said: "As a nation we have a habit of only visiting the GP when there's a problem or when we are in some pain, yet regular dental check-ups are recommended by a dentist. Dentists are in the best position to spot mouth cancer. They are trained to spot early warning signs, and they do visual examinations as part of every dental check-up."


November is the British dental Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action Month and to find out more see:

Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
Any neck-like structure; most commonly refers to the neck of the uterus. Full medical glossary
The process of determining which condition a patient may have. Full medical glossary
An abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers. Full medical glossary
A non-cancerous growth that resembles a wart. Full medical glossary
per vaginam Full medical glossary
the organ or the body where food is stored and broken down Full medical glossary
Any abnormal break in the epithelium, the outer layer of cells covering the open surfaces of the body. Full medical glossary
A microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells. Full medical glossary
Relating to the sense of sight (vision). Full medical glossary