None of us knows everything! When I first qualified and went to work as a new dentist at the grand age of 22 I thought I had left dental school with the majority of the knowledge I would need to work in general practice. How wrong I was! My first job in a busy NHS practice on the edge of a large council estate on Wakefield was not a bit like dental school!
But you get stuck in and start to adapt and learn a way of doing things. In time your ways become your habits. Once established a habit can be hard to break. I try to continually update my skills and often I will come back from a course and need to change my habits a little in order to improve and take on new ideas.
Breaking old habits and improving them is something we help our patients every week at Lindley dental. We often have to encourage our patients to clean their teeth and gums with a better technique, which can be hard if you been doing it a certain way for many years. We may be showing them new additional things like interdental brushes. Making this new regime your new habit takes perseverance.
Stoptober is upon us which is all about changing old habits for the better. We all knew smoking for example is bad for us but breaking the habit can be very hard.
November is Oral Cancer awareness month. As always, we will be supporting the campaign and trying to help our patients to learn more about the signs, symptoms and causes of mouth cancer. Preventing mouth cancer is again about assessing your habits and possibly changing them for the better. To help prevent mouth cancer you can;
Cut down the amount of alcohol you drink
Eat a balanced healthy diet getting you 5-a -day fruit and veg
Hopefully the above are well known. Less well know and becoming more important is the link with human papilloma virus HPV. HPV is spread through oral sex and research shows that it could rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may reduce your chances of getting HPV.
Now at the moment I am not in the habit of asking my patients about their sex lives. At some point though I may have to reassess and change that habit.
So as winter approaches and it’s time to take stock and reflect is it time you changed your habits?
Sharon Jardine, Owner Lindley Dental
Information from website of Oral Health Foundation www.dentalhealth.org/mouth-cancer