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In the news week commencing 23 November 2020

National and local media coverage we've received week commencing 23 November.

Friday 27 November

A&E attendances for dental problems cost NHS an estimated £13m a year
The Star highlights that last year 710 patients have visited A&E and minor injury departments with dental problems in Sheffield, costing the NHS almost £120,000. And over the last five years, almost 3,000 people have sought emergency medical treatment for dental problems in the city, costing taxpayers around £450,000. The news report also points out that across the UK, more than 77,000 people attended A&E departments or minor injury services in 2019/20 with dental problems, costing the NHS an estimated £13m. When asked to comment, the BDA said that in almost all cases, patients were unlikely to get anything more than pain relief and would be referred to a dentist, meaning this route offered people little help while lumbering the NHS with extra costs. The BDA called on the Government to ‘stop treating our patients like a cash cow’. BDA chair of general dental practice committee, Dave Cottam, said: “It’s no surprise patients were turning up at A&E departments in droves. Millions have struggled to secure an NHS dental appointment, and those that do find themselves clobbered with inflation-busting hikes in charges. Covid has simply upped the ante. When ministers treat dentistry as a Cinderella service the impact is felt across the NHS. Sadly, a decade of cuts is pushing patients to overstretched A&E medics and GPs who are neither trained nor equipped to treat them. We will see no progress until the Government stops treating our patients like a cash cow and provides adequate funding.”


I can see a private dentist but why can’t I see one on the NHS?
Are dentists open in tier 2, why am I being offered private treatment when I want NHS and what are the signs of oral cancer? These are just a few of the topics that were aired yesterday in a wide ranging discussion on dentistry on James Hazell’s programme, BBC Radio Suffolk. BDA southern branch chair, Hannah Woolnaugh addressed all these issues and assured listeners that regardless of the tier, dental practices are open. She said people should have the choice whether they are treated privately or on the NHS, and observed that NHS provision in Suffolk isn’t as good as it used to be before the pandemic. She explained the anomalies in the NHS contract that limit the number of patients that NHS dentists can see, and how Covid restrictions have compounded the situation. When asked to comment on the potential rise in undetected oral cancers, Hannah highlighted what people should look out for and urged them to make a dental appointment and to persist in calling practices if they don’t already have a dentist, because this would be classed as urgent. Commenting more generally about the impact of Covid lockdowns on oral health and wellbeing, she noticed that about half her patients were meticulous about cleaning their teeth if they weren’t before, and joked that the other half may have been more relaxed than usual, sitting in their pyjamas and not being so attentive about their oral hygiene.


Listen towards end of the programme at circa 1h.30


£19.1m of government underspend in dentistry over the last five years and £6.8m last year
Hundreds of news outlets owned by JPI Media, across the UK, continue to highlight the impact of inadequately funded NHS dental care on the public and dental profession alike, with extensive input from the BDA. This includes the following article in the Belfast News Letter, where the BDA argues that in a mixed economy, survival of private dentistry also helps support NHS dentistry. Richard Graham, chair of the BDA's NI Dental Practice Committee, says that the requirement to leave 30 minutes fallow time for cleaning between each patient has slashed private fees critical to practices' survival. "There was a £19.1m of government underspend in dentistry over the last five years and £6.8m last year," he said. "The government is producing more NHS funding than ever before, but because dentistry is also funded by private patients there has been a total drop overall in revenue.” However, the news outlet highlights that the Department for Economy turned down the BDA’s appeal for support for struggling dentists - the only NHS workers surviving on their savings during the pandemic.


Make an investment that would pay for itself and bring tens of thousands back through our doors
The impact of pending closure of a Bupa dental practices in Wales continues to be covered by the press, with commentary from the respective health boards, the local Healthwatch, and the BDA. The reports highlight that least 12,000 NHS dental patients have been affected by Bupa’s decision to close dental surgeries by February in Colwyn Bay and Caernarfon.  Commenting on how investment in high volume ventilations systems could reduce fallow time, the BDA said some practices “simply can’t afford” an average of £10,000 needed for air purification equipment. The findings from a recent BDA survey were also reported: almost three-quarters of dental practices reported “less focus on routine dentistry, as urgent and emergency cases receive needed priority”. It adds that the BDA is concerned that people could be storing up problems for the future as small dental issues become more serious. BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: “The clock is ticking on an oral health time bomb, as dentists lose the chance to act on the early signs of decay and oral cancer. Ministers have a choice. Make an investment that would pay for itself and bring tens of thousands back through our doors, or leave patients waiting for the care they need.”



Thursday 26 November 2020

NHS dentistry is in crisis, and its survival relies on a new model of care
That was the clear message articulated in a dental segment on BBC Reporting Scotland last night. David McColl’s practice used to see 100 patients a day before the pandemic, now with COVID restrictions it’s down to 20 a day. The presenter of the dental package said that fewer patients, means less income. David, chair of Scotland Dental Practice Committee, explained that the NHS model of care (fee per item) isn’t sustainable for modern dentistry. He said that practices can't afford to run a service like this with NHS funding and may turn private. The concerns about the viability of NHS dentistry were echoed by Professor Philip Taylor, Dean of Faculty of Dental Surgery at Royal College Surgeons (Ed).


BBC News - COVID: Dentists 'may have to close' without more support


COVID is putting 80 Northern Ireland practices and potentially 100,000 NHS patients at risk
Two articles in the Belfast Newsletter highlight the symbiotic relationship between NHS and private dentistry, and why supporting the latter would help secure the future of Health Service dental care. Readers are informed that the loss of private fees due to COVID is putting 80 Northern Ireland practices, and potentially 100,000 NHS patients at risk, due to the interconnected nature of dental practice. Dentists are calling on the Economy Minister to help cover lost private income and for a business rates holiday.

Ciara Gallagher, GDP highlights that her practice has over 10,000 NHS patients who rely on the practice to provide treatment, and eight staff and 15 dentists who reply on the practice to pay their income. She praised her staff and the dental community and highlighted that they keep doing what they are doing, despite the pressures, because they care for their patients. She says DoH FSS has been a life raft but the practice relies on fees from non NHS patients to stay afloat, covering the cost of wages, equipment, materials etc.

They say that repeatedly applied minimal uplifts to NHS fees have not kept up with dental inflation, and historic underinvestment and COVID-19 pressures mean the practice unsustainable.

BDA calls on government to support private dentistry
The Department for Economy has turned down requests by the BDA to subsidise the private side of NI dental practices, some 80 of which are in crisis as they can only treat 20% of their normal level of patients. Richard Graham NIDPC Chair said: “There was a £19.1m of government underspend in dentistry over the last five years and £6.8m last year. Dept of Econ have not provided any support for private practice and have indicated that “dentistry and other medical professions fall outside the responsibility of DfE”. The Department of Health acknowledged “the ongoing uncertainty over the future provision of routine dental care”. GDP Philip McLorinan highlighted that private dentistry supports HS dentistry and urged the Dept of Econ to engage with dental representatives.


News Letter -Department for Economy turns down appeal for support for struggling dentists - the only NHS workers surviving on their savings during the pandemic


Wednesday 25 November

Pandemic has led to a collapse in orthodontic referrals

BBC Radio 4’s consumer programme You and Yours highlighted the impact of COVID on waiting lists for orthodontic treatment, with input from the parents of children affected, the BDA and the British Orthodontic Society (BOS). The BDA highlighted that the pandemic has led to a collapse in patient referrals as little to no orthodontic screening is taking place on the high street and estimates that at least half of the children who were due to start treatment haven’t. One parent said she was shocked to hear that her daughter would have to wait three years before she could start treatment, that she would be 17 by then and was self-conscious of her appearance. For these reasons, she opted to have her daughter treated privately at a cost of £4,000.

Commenting on behalf of BOS, Anshu Sood said the waiting lists for treatment were already long and COVID has extended these. She said that demand outstrips supply, even before the pandemic, and this was influenced by a social media culture. When asked why children aren’t being assessed as before [COVID], she said that dentistry was highly regulated, and that COVID restrictions and staggered appointments, due to social distancing, severely limit the number of patients that can be seen.  From a clinical perspective, she said having to wait longer would not make a difference to the outcome for most patients. The programme also stated that children, who were already on the waiting lists, would not have to pay for NHS treatment, even if they were over 18 by the time they start, the cut-off period when most people usually have to contribute to the cost of NHS treatments.

BDA Scotland and RCSEd warn that practices 'may have to close' without more support
Last night and today, several BBC news channels across Scotland highlighted the plight of NHS dentists staying afloat during the pandemic, with input from David McColl, BDA chair of Scotland Dental Committee, Professor Philip Taylor, Dean of Faculty of Dental Surgery at Royal College Surgeons (Ed), and Tom Ferris Scotland's chief dental officer. BBC News announced that dentists whose businesses rely on NHS patients have warned that they are struggling to stay afloat with so few patients coming through the door. Professor Taylor said that for NHS work the government was "providing very little towards treatment" and ‘although they artificially control the prices’, they are asking dentists effectively to act as tax collectors. Fees are complex and can vary with each patient, but a dentist who fits a new metal crown for a back tooth on the NHS may receive a fee set by government of £80 to £100 - with the patient paying most of that. However, if the work was done privately, the RCSEd said the dentist could charge £300 to £400. Prof Taylor said many of those that closed were likely to be the ones most dependant on NHS fees - often in poorer parts of big cities - he added. One dentist told BBC Scotland the number of patients his practice could see in a day had been cut from 100 to 20. Fewer patients, he said, meant less income. "I think we are in a dental health crisis," said David McColl, of BDA Scotland. "You might see more practices saying we can't afford to run a service like this with NHS funding and turn private. Then you'd have a two-tier system where if you can afford it you can get the treatment, but if you can't, you won't." He added: "We want to get back to treating our patients and have a fair system that is not target-driven. None of us wants this two-tier system - we need universal access for all".

On the funding the government had made available to dentists during the pandemic, Tom Ferris, said that from 1 November all NHS treatments had been allowed again. He said payments worth up to £12m per month were being made to support the incomes of NHS dental practices. "As well as deploying the Scottish government budget for NHS dental services, we are investing an additional £2.75m per month."

BDA Scotland and the RCS (ED) were cited in BBC news bulletins all across Scotland today that aired the concerns raised above, more dentists would have to take on private patients or shut down and the concern that there could be a rise on oral cancers with patients missing out on check-ups.


BBC News - COVID: Dentists 'may have to close' without more support
BBC Sounds - Good morning Scotland - Listen from 06.32

Northern Ireland: It will be at least two years before dentists will be able to see patients as usual
The News at One, on BBC Radio Foyle, yesterday featured an interview with BDA NI president Paul Brennan, who said that it could be at least two years before dentists will be able to see patients as usual for routine services. He discussed the additional precautions that dentists have to take to protect patients and staff from COVID, including social distancing and PPE. He said that fallow time was the biggest disruption to dentistry, since a 15 minute treatment could take up to an hour and 15 minutes of surgery time before another patient could be treated. He said that practices were open to treat emergencies and urgent cases and could provide all treatments if they have appropriate ventilation. He indicated that practices in windowless premises wouldn’t be able to provide aerosol generating procedures. He said that all the COVID-related changes have cause a huge disruption to the delivery of dentistry and would have a long term impact on patients as problems that could be picked up early would now require interventions.


BBC Radio Foyle - The Mark Patterson Show - Listen from 14.01
BBC Radio Foyle - The News at One - 24/11/2020, 13:21

BDA calls on Jeremy Hunt, chair of health select committee, to resume probe into NHS dentistry
Eddie Crouch, chair of the BDA, said the probe needs to ‘get back on track'. He said: ‘COVID has smashed the flawed foundations this service was built on. Our patients are facing a service on the brink, and the committee must take this opportunity to provide urgent scrutiny.'  The plea comes as Portsmouth News reveals the strain facing the nation's dentists as part of a week-long series of investigative reports. More than 77,000 people nationwide have flocked to hospital A&Es, ramping up pressure on already-stretched nurses and medics. Meanwhile, 1.45 million people across the UK are unable to access an NHS dentists, with some resorting to yanking out their own teeth to stop the agony of toothache.

In Westminster, more than 100 pieces of written evidence had been submitted to the parliamentary inquiry into the state of the UK's dental industry, including comments from NHS England and campaign groups. Among submissions were dozens of statements from dentists, who warned they felt ‘worthless' amid soaring financial strains and the increased threat of legal action by patients. Eddie Crouch added the current provision of NHS dentistry was ‘woefully inadequate' and warned: ‘The morale in the profession is at an all-time low.'

The Portsmouth News - 'Urgent' plea goes out to parliament to resume probe into UK's dental crisis

After a day working in PPE: It was absolutely awful, mentally and physically draining
The impact of stress on dentists was discussed in today’s Belfast Newsletter, with input from dentists and the BDA. Richard Graham, chair of the BDA's NI Dental Practice Committee, said: "People are at breaking point. Practise owners have contacted me and said they have not taken a penny from their practises since March for pay. "The doors are open - government support can keep the business going but there is nothing for the owners. They are working seven days a week under extreme physical and mental pressure for no money "No other part of the health service is being asked to do that. Most of them are living on their savings at the moment and that just can't continue." Some dentists who have contacted the BDA confide they have not discussed their growing financial vulnerability with their wives and families. "We say to them - you really need to tell everyone what is going on. They don't want to worry everybody at home. But taking that level of stress onto yourself is dangerous." One dentist in their twenties told the BDA: "I just want to retire. If we have to practise dentistry like this for the long term I don't want to be a dentist." Another in their 30s said after a day working in PPE: "It was absolutely awful, mentally and physically draining". One BDA member said they were unable to get on top of the number of patients needing help. "The lists just keep getting longer," they said. Another said: "I still don't know where this is all going to end. My friend is getting a practise valued to sell. Finding a buyer may be interesting at the moment."

Belfast News Letter - Dentists are only NHS workers living on their savings during pandemic, warns BDA

Dentists warn that hiking up prices is a barrier to care for low income patients
The Daily Star’s coverage of the increase in NHS dental charges (highlighted in these reports yesterday) includes commentary from Dave Cottam, Chair of the British Dental Association's General Dental Practice. He said: "This inflation-busting hike won't put an extra penny into a service in crisis, or help millions currently unable to get an appointment. We've appealed to the government for support to bring down the backlogs. Sadly this short-sighted approach will only give lower-income, higher risk patients more reasons not to attend." It comes after the BDA warned that practices are operating at a fraction of their usual capacity. Hundreds of dentists could be forced to close in the next year without extra support, according to reports, as patients avoid sitting in the chair.

Daily Star - Price of NHS dental treatments including checkups to rise by up to £13 post-lockdown


Tuesday 24 November

The cost of NHS dental treatments rises as dentists accuse the government of “putting up barriers to care”
Procedures such as crowns, dentures, root canals and removing teeth will see a price increase as part of the five per cent rise in NHS dental charges in England. The price hike had been due to start on April 1 but was pushed back due to the first wave of the pandemic. The five per cent increase will take hold on December 14 - meaning those who need to see the dentist have got just two weeks to book in before they will be charged extra. However it was recently reported that patients are facing a two-year delay for dental surgery as waiting times have doubled in the last year because of the pandemic.

Under the new prices, a routine check-up will increase by £1.10 from £22.70 to £23.80. Treatments such as root canals or removing teeth will rise by £3.10 from £62.10 to £65.20 and more complex procedures like crowns, dentures and bridges rise from £13.50 from £269.30 to £282.80. The BDA has said that dentists are “health professionals, not tax collectors” and added that an increase in price is a major barrier to patients.


The Sun - Cost of NHS dental treatments increase by up to £13 - including check ups

NI mouth cancer spike – sexually transmitted HPV virus linked to tonsil cancer
Hospital admissions for mouth cancer in Northern Ireland have risen faster than any other UK nation over the past five years, figures reveal. Analysis by JPI Investigations reveals hospital admissions for mouth cancer increased by 25% in NI between 2014 and 2019 compared to 18% in England and 11% in Wales. Helen Mitchell, a statistician at the NI Cancer Registry at Queen’s University Belfast, said that the rate of mouth cancer diagnosis per capita – as opposed to hospital admissions – is actually slightly lower in NI at 13.1 people per 100,000, than in England, at 13.6. Wales is even lower at 10.8 patients while Scotland is the highest of any UK region at 17.7 patients. Chair of the BDA NI Hospitals Group Dr Gerry McKenna said: “A large number of the cases that I see are very advanced cases with very large tumours. This inevitably complicates treatment and means that both initial treatment and follow up care are very complex. Early cases can be managed much more easily. We know that the main risk factors for oral cancer are smoking and alcohol consumption, usually in combination. Unfortunately patients who fall into this high risk category are those who routinely don’t access any branch of healthcare including dentists, therefore they miss out on screening services offered.” He said that dentists are the most experienced health professionals in recognising oral cancer and making the best referral for specialist care. Dentists are also excellent at picking up very early stage cancer, but this is impossible if patients do not have regular dental check-ups or go to GPs instead.

There is a separate article on a steep rise in the number of patients in Yorkshire being admitted to hospital to treat oral cancer. This cites the BDA as warning many people may now be “walking around with oral cancer that hasn’t been picked up” thanks to the pandemic.


The News Letter - NI mouth cancer spike - sexually transmitted HPV virus linked to tonsil cancer


Yorkshire Post - Steep rise in hospital admissions for mouth cancer across Yorkshire amid dentistry cuts, data reveals


The Portsmouth News - Early detection of mouth cancer an 'unacceptable lottery' amid dentistry cuts, critics claim


Monday 23 November

Many dentists work seven day weeks since April to keep afloat
The Belfast News Letter, BBC Radio Ulster, Good Morning Ulster, and BBC Radio Foyle all highlighted the news, attributed to the BDA, that around 100,000 of the most vulnerable dental patients across Northern Ireland could be left without access to care if COVID-19 pressures on practices are not addressed. The reports note that 80 of the 350 dental practices across NI fall into the most vulnerable financial category and are under serious threat. These findings come as part of a series this week by JPI Media Investigations, looking at dentistry across the UK, with input from the BDA. “If these practices go under then their 100,000 NHS patients will lose access to dentistry,” said Richard Graham, chair of the BDA’s NI Dental Practice Committee. He said that dentists are currently only able to handle about 20% of the patients they normally would, due to COVID restrictions, while fallow time slashed the number of fee-paying patients they can see daily. Richard said: “Around 80 practices are very vulnerable, because less than 50% of their income comes from NHS patients.” The News Letter points out that while dentists’ NHS income from the government has remained fairly stable during the pandemic, the bulk of their normal income – from private clients - is down 80%. Richard said: “If a practice’s NHS income is normally below 50% of its total income, the owner has already been putting in personal savings to keep the business running. Coming out of the pandemic, NHS patients at these practices will be in danger because they won’t have any practice left to treat them.”

A UK-wide BDA survey in July found that 96% of practices with an exclusively or largely private patient base thought it was “likely or extremely likely that they would face financial challenges” within three months. In addition, many dentists have been working seven day weeks since April to keep afloat, while the enhanced PPE they must wear takes a serious physical toll, as it severely restricts breathing. The News Letter explains that UK dentistry is the only arm of the NHS which, by design, must take both NHS and private patients in order to survive financially. Uniquely among NHS professionals, he says many dentists are at risk of losing their homes, as they had to borrow against them to fund their practices. Plus, unlike GB, dentists in Northern Ireland must source their own PPE.

In a separate article, the News Letter says dental patients across UK abandoning NHS due to rising fees.

Straw poll of 16 practices in Essex reveals 120,000 dental checkups were missed
The high number of missed routine dental appointments and the implications of this for patients was aired on BBC Radio Essex last Saturday on Ben Fryer’s morning programme. The report drew heavily from the BDA’s latest research on practice viability and the open letter sent to Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The presenter pointed out that BDA findings showed that 70% of practices are now operating at less than half their pre-pandemic capacity, with 88% of practices reporting that the top barrier to seeing more patients was fallow time, and only 55% of practices estimate they are able to maintain their financial sustainability for 12 months or less. The dental segment included an interview with Tony Clough from the local dental committee. Tony said he did a straw poll of just 16 dental practices in Essex and this revealed that 120,000 dental checkups were missed. And from one of his own dental practices, Tony said we have 9,500 checkups that are overdue, which he felt would be impossible to catch up.

On the implications for patients, Tony said that early cases of decay would have been missed, and similarly for gum disease, and even more seriously, he said, a small number of oral cancers. He said that his practice was one of the urgent care centres that was set up during lockdown and they saw 6,000 urgent cases and nothing else. On measures to reduce fallow time, Tony said: “We paid between £15,000 and £20,000 for a new ventilation system. This now meant that fallow time was reduced to 10 minutes between patients. He also pointed out that this wasn’t an option for some dental practices, either financially or building constraints where practices are located.”

Listen from 08h:10

US study found fewer than 1% of dentists tested positive for COVID
The Guardian provides a comprehensive guide on how people can look after their teeth during the pandemic and how to manage dental emergencies with input from experts, including the BDA’s outgoing scientific adviser, Prof Damien Walmsley. The author of the article, Elle Hunt, cites BDA estimates that, since the March lockdown, dentists in England have provided nearly 19m fewer treatments than in the same period last year. Although they are assumed to be at high risk of contracting COVID-19, a recent study of nearly 2,200 US dentists found that fewer than 1% tested positive in June. Added to this, Ms Hunt refers to Professor Damien Walmsley comments on dentists’ expertise on infection control, and some of the measures dentists have adopted to reduce risks from aerosol generating procedures.

She highlights that Martin Addy, emeritus professor of dentistry at the University of Bristol, has argued that more frequent brushing should be promoted alongside hand-washing to protect against coronavirus, as the antimicrobial agents in toothpaste and mouthwash reduce mouth bacteria. A link with brushing has not yet been substantiated, but last week a Cardiff University study found “promising signs” that mouthwash may help to kill coronavirus. Further research into how oral hygiene might factor into reducing coronavirus risk is under way.

Crisis looming’ over access to NHS dentistry in East Sussex
An investigation by JPIMedia has revealed that, even before coronavirus, dentistry was facing unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts including issues with access, huge numbers of people going to A&E with dental problems and rocketing rates of mouth cancer. But the pandemic has made the situation substantially worse. Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association, said it was clear that dentistry was now grappling with an ‘existential crisis’. “Access problems that were common pre-COVID are now the norm in every community,” he said. “Meanwhile, practices face a deeply uncertain future, as they try to balance tight restrictions, higher costs, and a collapse in patient numbers.” He called for a clear plan to keep services afloat and for real investment in prevention. “We cannot risk a ‘new normal’ of care for the few and widening oral health inequalities,” he said.

Almost one in 10 dentists considered taking their lives
In a series of articles this week, JPI Media Investigations, have been looking at dentistry across the UK, with extensive input from the BDA. This includes a report on stress and the impact this has on dentists and their wellbeing. It points out that broken’ dentists are being overwhelmed by stress and struggling to hit crippling patient targets - even before the coronavirus pandemic brought widespread disruption to the industry. The article also highlights that a “shock” study by the British Dental Association (BDA), which represents dentists, has found almost one in 10 dentists considered taking their lives in a single year. And the organisation fears the coronavirus crisis will only have increased the mental health burden on dentists, with practices facing financial concerns and a large backlog of patients. The mental health crisis facing the industry is so severe it has seen dentists banding together to form a new helpline for anxious staff. Experienced practitioners are also stepping in to counsel their suicidal colleagues during face-to-face sessions. Phil Gowers, chair of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Dental Committee, blamed the problem on years of chronic underfunding from government. The lack of cash has led to a recruitment crisis which has ramped up pressure on dentists already at breaking point, he said. Now health campaigners in Portsmouth have demanded a radical rethink in how the government finances NHS dentistry – seen by dentists as the ‘forgotten relative’ of UK healthcare. Roger Batterbury, chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth, said action was needed and appealed for an inquiry by the health and social care committee into UK dentistry – shelved last year – to be revived.

Lancaster Guardian - Dentistry in Decay: One in 10 dentists feel suicidal, study finds, leading to claims of a healthcare 'crisis'

Portsmouth News - British dentists feel suicidal amid soaring pressures as Whitehall 'turns a blind eye' to the crisis


The Gazzette - Dentistry in Decay: One in 10 dentists feel suicidal, study finds, leading to claims of a healthcare 'crisis'

The Gazzette - Dentistry in Decay: A&Es swamped by thousands of dental patients unable to get an appointment at their local NHS practice

Portsmouth News - New NHS dental contract awarded to Cosham surgery

Thousands of mouth cancer cases have been left undiagnosed
The Scottish Sun highlights that cases of mouth cancer have doubled in the UK in the last 20 years - with one person every hour being diagnosed with the disease. The article also lists the symptoms that people must not ignore. It adds that the coronavirus lockdown has meant that many people have been skipping dental appointments and dentists have warned that thousands of mouth cancer cases have been left undiagnosed. New research by the Oral Health Foundation found that seven-in-ten (71 per cent) of Brits don’t know the symptoms of mouth cancer. The research also found that 83 per cent of people don’t feel confident they would spot the signs of mouth cancer, while 62 per cent confessed to never having checked their mouth for the disease. Figures from the British Dental Association also this week revealed that 19 million treatments have been missed due to the COVID lockdown. Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation said it is important for everybody to know how to spot the early signs of mouth cancer and know how to perform a simple self-check.