Volunteers needed to walk the walk

Throughout National Smile Month 2014, dental hygienist Christina Chatfield is walking 500 miles for charity from Scotland to Brighton, all in aid of mouth cancer action – and is looking for volunteers to join her along the way. In return, walkers will get two hours’ verifiable CPD.

‘500 miles 4 500 smiles’ passes through 32 different locations from Christina’s first dental practice in Kirriemuir to her current practice on the south coast. Walkers can simply choose to walk part of the route, or can join the walk and register for mouth cancer CPD, courtesy of The Dental Channel. The money raised will go towards promoting awareness of mouth cancer, a disease experts have forecast will rise within the next decade, and Christina hopes as many people as possible will support her endeavour.

Christina, owner of Dental Health Spa in Brighton, said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted and very grateful to The Dental Channel for offering participants the opportunity to get this CPD. It is an area everyone in the dental team – and especially hygienists and therapists since the introduction of direct access – needs to be aware of.

‘I feel very passionately about improving oral health, and I am sure this is a sentiment all of my fellow professionals would echo. Mouth cancer is one of the very few forms of cancer on the rise, and it currently claims more lives than testicular and cervical cancer combined. We all have a responsibility to help beat the disease, and you have the chance to join me and help to make a difference.

‘By registering and donating just £20, you could potentially prompt someone into getting checked out, a move that could save their life.’

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, added: ‘The walk is almost a month away, and Christina needs your support. It is a huge project and one we are all very excited about.

‘The walk goes through some major cities – Edinburgh, York, not to mention London – so there is plenty of opportunity for you to get involved. Reducing rates of mouth cancer is really important, particularly given the rising rates in the disease. You can help to do something about this, simply by going for a walk!’

Elaine Tilling, dental hygienist at Tepe Oral Hygiene, added: ‘We’re proud to be supporting Christina and the British Dental Health Foundation and are keen to help change attitudes and behaviour towards oral care across the UK – helping to raise awareness of mouth cancer country-wide. The Tepe team will be joining Christina en route and we’d like to ask dental practices in local areas to join us in support of this worthwhile cause –improving the UK’s oral care routine whilst ensuring healthy smiles across the UK.’

In 2012, the General Dental Council introduced ‘Oral cancer: improving early detection’ as a recommended CPD topic. To get two hours verifiable, all you need to do is walk. To sign up and get involved in the campaign, visit www.500miles4smiles.org.

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