A regular check up at the dentist has all sorts of benefits – not least in preventing mouth cancer.
More than 8,300 people in the UK are diagnosed with mouth cancer (or oral cancer) each year1. Over the next decade, around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed and around 30,000 will die because of late detection2.
In a bid to raise awareness of the issue, each November the Oral Health Foundation organises Mouth Cancer Action Month.
The idea is to raise awareness of lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of mouth cancer – whether that’s alcohol intake, smoking or diet.
In addition, there is a drive to encourage people to take one simple step: go to the dentist.
A check up: what’s included?
Recent research suggests that almost one in five adults (18%) only visit their dentist when they have a problem with their teeth. And it’s a particular issue for men – 21% of men admit to only visiting a dentist when there’s a problem, compared with 15% of women3.
A trip to the dentist has multiple advantages. A simple check up includes an examination of teeth and gums; a check on general health and problems with teeth, mouth and gums; and advice about diet, smoking and teeth-cleaning habits4.
Dental treatment is covered under the NHS – but that doesn’t mean it’s free.
There may be some confusion around how much a check up – and any subsequent treatment – costs. In essence, in England, there are three pricing bands. From April 2018 – March 2019, they are5:
- Band 1 – £21.60
This constitutes a basic check up. Covers examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, this might also include additional treatment such as x-rays, a scale and polish and planning for further treatment.
- Band 2 – £59.10
Covers all treatment in Band 1, plus additional treatment such as fillings, root canal treatment and teeth extractions.
- Band 3 – £256.50
Covers all treatment in Band 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures such as crowns, dentures and bridges.
There’s more information on the cost of treatment here.
Extending the benefits
Given that mouth cancer is the cause of more deaths per year than testicular and cervical cancer combined6, Mouth Cancer Action Month is a good time to look at the best options for protection and prevention.
For employers, a great way to promote good oral health is to offer dental cover to employees. Unum Dental has a wide range of benefits to choose from, including worldwide dental cover, cover for planned and pending treatment, free choice of dentist and more.
Crucially, Unum’s dental cover can also include the employee’s spouse and any children up to the age of 21 (or older if they’re in full-time education). There’s also a new feature that allows the cover to be extended to employees’ ageing parents.
“We all have a role to play in combating mouth cancer,” says Andrew Bower, Managing Director at Unum Dental. “Dental cover is a highly sought-after benefit that all employees – and their families – can benefit from.
“The idea of the dentist as an undesirable place to be is unhelpful. Regular check ups is the best thing to do to avoid any unpleasant and expensive procedures further down the line.”
Whether you’re an employer, an adviser or an employee, take a look at what Unum Dental can offer here.
1 Oral Health Foundation. (2018). State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2018/2019, p6
2 Mouth Cancer Foundation. (2018). Mouth Cancer Action Month
3 Mintel. (2017). Nothing to smile about
4 NHS. (2018). Dental check-ups
5 NHS. (2018). How much will I pay for NHS dental treatment?
6 Mouth Cancer Foundation. (2018). What is mouth cancer?