Olympic dentists flag up oral cancer risk

A record number of athletes are being screened for mouth cancer at this year’s winter Olympic games.

And the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) has welcomed this oral screening campaign – which has been stepped up since the last winter games and includes education for the athletes on the importance of applying sun cream to help prevent mouth cancers.   

Research reveals that alpine athletes are particularly at risk of developing skin and lip cancers due to prolonged exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation while training and competing at high altitudes.

The damaging radiation largely occurs when the sun reflects off the surface of the ice and snow.

And dentists at the games are screening 20% of all athletes – a 100% rise from the last winter Olympics.

Around 800 athletes will sit in the dentist’s chair during the competition, with more70 dentists and their assistants on hand to not only to fix up their battered teeth and mouths, but to also practice preventative dentistry.

Chief executive of the BDHF, Dr Nigel Carter, was pleased to see the Olympic Committee recognising the importance of spreading the awareness of mouth cancer.

He said: ‘It is high time this hidden problem was placed in the spotlight. It is good to see positive action taking place by raising knowledge of the risks and ability to spot this disease.’

For more information on mouth cancer call the National Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188, or visit www.mouthcancer.org.

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