Scandinavian dentist provides pointers to stem oral cancer

By: Mariecar Jara-Puyod | April 22, 2018 | Gulf Today

ABU DHABI: A Scandinavian second generation dentist based in Abu Dhabi has raised the alarm against oral cancer and has given tips to address this common but neglected disease since April is the Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

From the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Oral Health Programme files, it was known that oral or mouth cancers are a “kind of head and neck cancer.”

One of these is the oropharyngeal cancer or throat cancer, the 11th most common cancer worldwide.

Signs and symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer, caused by the human papilloma virus, are sores or blisters at the back of the mouth; difficulty in speech, swallowing and breathing; neck swelling; loss of appetite and weight; and weakness.

According to the “Global Burden of Oral Cavity and Pharyngeal Cancers” paper, oral cancers include tumours located on and which affect the “mucosal surfaces of the mouth, salivary glands, oropharynx, nasopharynx, and hypopharynx (collectively the part of the throat behind the mouth).”

Estimated annual global deaths attributed to oral cancers are at over 520,000. 

As WHO noted that 90 per cent of oral cancers are a result of tobacco use including smoke-less and e-cigarettes as well as excessive alcohol consumption, experts who had researched on the global burden of oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers considered tobacco chewing and betel-quid chewing with or without the cigarette as risk factors as well.

“Other emerging factors include diet low in fruit and vegetable consumption and poor oral hygiene.”

The experts who analysed population-based cancer registry data in the Middle East and Africa found that the most common causes of oral cancers in the region are cigarette/toombak and khat smoking, mate and alcohol.

The predominantly affected organ for these oral cancers is the tongue. 

The highest incidence rates are in Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius and Botswana.

From Abu Dhabi, Sno Dental chief executive officer Dr Per Rehnberg said: “Oral health is important to overall health. We believe regular check-ups can help prevent oral cancer by helping detect it earlier than ever before.

“The best way to manage and treat an oral cancer diagnosis is by combining early detection of the disease with timely treatment.”

With over 30 years of work as a dentist in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, Rehnberg, who grew up with a dentist-father, added: “While oral cancer is not a rare disease, it is particularly dangerous because it tends to go unnoticed.

“The potential for death is significantly reduced if cancer is detected early, making treatment easier, less invasive and more than 90 per cent curable.”

Rehnberg who has followed his dentist-father’s approach that being the best dentist is to incorporate “one-third science, one-third craftsmanship and one-third patient care” has the following tips against all forms of oral/mouth cancers:

• Refrain from using tobacco products. Smoking has been linked to many types of cancer including that of the head, neck and oral cavity.

• Brush the teeth twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste. This will extricate cavities/gingivitis/halitosis-causing bacteria.

• Floss the teeth twice a day. Evening flossing will remove the bacteria that will feed on food particles. It will prevent bad breath.

• Check the mouth personally every month in good light for non-healing ulcers, bleeding, abnormal patches and swellings which are signs and symptoms of oral cancers.

• If the non-healing ulcers, bleeding, abnormal patches and swellings prevail and become unresponsive to treatments for over a month, go for the dental check-ups again.

• Go for bi-annual dental check-ups or every six months.

• Avoid too much exposure to sunlight or wear a protective lip balm with sun protection factor to prevent lip cancer.

• Consume lots of fruits, vegetables and nuts every day. Go for regular physical exercises.

• Limit or better yet cut out alcohol consumption.

Sno Dental in the capital is offering free screenings until April 26.



By Mariecar Jara-Puyod

April 22, 2018

Article Link:


Other Sources.

Gulf News:

Abu Dhabi World:

Al Ittihad:صحة-ورشاقة/الصحة-العامة/8-نصائح-للوقاية-من-سرطان-الفم#photo/1

Doctors in UAE sound oral cancer alarm over use of qat, betel leaves

By: Jasmine Al Kuttab /Abu Dhabi | May 4, 2018 | Khaleej Times

Doctors in the UAE are warning against the illegal use of betel leaves (paan) and qat leaves, which they said are among the top causes of oral cancer.

“We have noticed people consuming these dangerous carcinogenic substances, mainly coming from South Asia and Yemen,” Dr Norbert W. Dreier, consultant – oncology at Burjeel Hospital, told Khaleej Times.

According to the UAE law, qat leaves are banned. The trafficking, possession or consumption of the substance is a criminal offence.

Betel leaves, which are widely chewed in Asia as a stimulant substance, are also banned in the UAE and those caught trafficking or consuming the product will face penalties. 

Dr Dreier pointed out although oral cancer is not the leading cancer in the UAE, expats from South Asia, who have been using these substances are mostly at risk. “What we have noticed is patients from these areas who have a habit of chewing the betel and qat leaves are more prone to the disease.

“In Western countries, we see more people with oral cancer, which has been caused mainly by tobacco and alcohol consumption. However, here we see more cases among people chewing betel and qat leaves.”

Dr Anoop Azad, specialist in prosthodontics at Universal Hospital, said betel nut (paan) chewing is popular among Asian people, and is a top risk factor for oral cancer.

However, oral cancer causes are not only related to the prohibited substances, but also to tobacco chewing or ‘reverse smoking,’ he warned.

“In India, many people smoke without filters,” he said, adding that he had noticed that oral cancer cases are more common among Indian expats in the UAE, particularly the workers in camp sites.

“The expats are the major part of the volume, and when we ask about their history, they refer to such substance use.”

He said the disease can be deadly because it can quickly spread to the neck and chest.

“The chances of oral cancer spreading to other areas is much faster, because of the extensive blood supply.”

He stressed that early intervention is crucial, and urged the public to undergo regular screenings, warning that the disease is difficult to detect and can thus turn fatal.

“If people ignore the signs, it will not only get worse, but it can turn fatal very quickly.”

“People tend to take this issue very light. They don’t understand how important it is to have their screening done.”

He said in the last two years, he has seen around 15 cases related to oral cancer, and the youngest patient was just 22 years old. He said he attends at least six cases of patients who have developed lesions and ulcers a month, which can develop into cancer.

Dr Per Rehnberg, CEO of Snö Dental, said the potential for death can significantly be reduced if the cancer is detected early, making treatment easier, less invasive and more than 90 per cent curable.

“The best way to manage and treat an oral cancer diagnosis is by combining early detection of the disease with timely treatment.”


He urged people to regularly examine their mouth, to look for non-healing ulcers, areas of bleeding, abnormal patches and swellings.


Dr Rehnberg added that professional screening should be conducted every six months.

He also advised people to protect themselves from sun exposure, as lip cancer is directly related to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.


“People who work outdoors and have prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to develop lip cancer.”


Top causes of oral cancer

>Chewing betel or qat leaves

>Around 50 per cent of the oral cancer cases are related to tobacco use

>Reverse smoking

>Human papilloma virus is another risk factor

>Those with a family history of cancer, and/or a weak immune system are at a greater risk



Jasmine Al Kuttab /Abu Dhabi

May 4, 2018

Article Link:–

Free screening and top prevention tips offered for Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 20, 2018 | Health Magazine AE

In an effort to shed light on the importance of prevention when it comes to oral cancer, the Abu Dhabi based practice is offering the screening from April 19 to 26 and has identified eight top tips to avoid the disease – which is notoriously difficult to detect.

While oral cancer is not a rare disease, it is particularly dangerous because it tends to go unnoticed. The potential for death is significantly reduced if cancer is detected early, making treatment easier, less invasive and more than 90% curable.



Dr Per Rehnberg, CEO of Snö Dental said: “Oral health is important to overall health and we believe regular checkups can help prevent oral cancer by helping detect it earlier than ever before. The best way to manage and treat an oral cancer diagnosis is by combining early detection of the disease with timely treatment.

“This can affect all adults therefore we would urge people to get regular screenings and we are delighted to be in a position that we can offer this for free to the Abu Dhabi community.”

“At Snö Dental, we would like to take the opportunity to get involved and give back to our local community in hopes to raise oral cancer awareness and the need for early detection to save lives.”


Oral Cancer


Here are some simple tips from Dr Per Rehnberg, that can help prevent oral cancer.

Don’t use tobacco products

Smoking has been linked to many different types of cancer, including that of the head, neck and oral cavity. To greatly reduce your chance of developing oral or oropharyngeal cancer, stay away from tobacco in any form.

Maintain good oral hygiene

Brush and floss your teeth daily as bad oral hygiene is a known risk factor for oral cancer. Brushing twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste is critical in removing bacteria that causes cavities, gingivitis (inflammation in the gum) and bad breath. Flossing is often forgotten, however, if you don’t floss, you will miss cleaning 35 percent of your tooth surfaces. Flossing in the evening will remove bacteria that like to feed on food particles throughout the day and also prevent bad breath.

Regular self-oral examination

Examine your oral cavity (mouth) in good light once every month to look for non-healing ulcers, areas of bleeding, abnormal patches or any swellings, as these may be signs of cancer and early detection increases the chances of successful treatment.

Have regular professional screening

Scheduling six-month check-ups is a great way to keep a healthy mouth. Early detection and regular preventive examination are key to surviving oral cancer. Regular expert screening at a dental clinic can detect early warning signs, giving you your best chance at successful treatment. Make sure your clinic does this.

Protect yourself from sun exposure

Lip cancer is directly related to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and people who work outdoors and have prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to develop lip cancer. To reduce this risk, you must try to limit your exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This does not mean you must avoid the sun altogether. Always wear a protective lip balm with SPF when you’re outside in the strong sun.

Don’t ignore any ulcer / bleeding / pain

If you spot any ulcers or bleeding that do not respond to treatment for over a month, please get it checked out as it could be something much more serious.

Proper diet and a healthy lifestyle

A diet rich in vegetables, fruits and nuts with regular exercise is known to protect from oral cancer. Most of us have sedentary lifestyles and we must try and balance this by doing some form of regular exercise.

Cut out alcohol

Alcohol is known to be a big risk factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancer, particularly when used along with tobacco. It is advisable to limit your alcohol intake to a minimal level. Not only will this prove to be good for your liver and heart, but it also reduces your risk of oral cancer. Latest general recommendation says no more than 5 glasses of wine or 5 pints of beer per week.

To schedule your oral cancer screening, contact Snö Dental today at 800 DENTIST (800 3368478).


Article Link:

Some UAE dentists caught out for grossly over-treating patients

By: Nick Webster | May 12, 2018 | The National

Dubai Health Authority handed out 25 fines for fraud, waste and abuse cases.

From left, Dr Per Rehnberg, chief executive of Snö Dental Clinics, and dentist Dr Nasser Fouda, say dentists can often view their practice as a business rather than as providing healthcare. Pawan Singh / The National

Expensive and pointless dental treatments offered to patients to boost profits have been exposed in a mystery shopping exercise at practices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Fifteen clinics were checked by dentists posing as patients to assess how common over-treatment is in the industry.

One patient was offered unnecessary root canal treatment, crowns and fillings at a total cost of Dh26,200, when all that was required was two fillings and a visit to a hygienist.

The case was just one example highlighted by Scandinavian dentists in Abu Dhabi.

Regulators said they were stepping up inspections, and would only recommend providers based on a positive history of care.

Dr Per Rehnberg, chief executive of Snö Dental Clinics, who has been working in Sweden, Norway and Denmark before running a dentist practice in Abu Dhabi, was shocked at the high level of treatments being offered to patients, with insurers often picking up the costs.

“Root canal treatment is often suggested and is very common here.” he said.

“After my experience, I sent staff out to several other clinics and they found the same thing.

“There was a lack of documentation. Clinics take x-rays but it is very important for patients to get a proper status so they know what is being included in an exam.”

One clinic suggested a patient had a root canal, 3 crowns fitted and 4 fillings amongst other minor treatments costing Dh26,200.Caries – decaying teeth – were removed by another dentist to avoid the need for fillings, root canal work or crown fittings, at a cost of just Dh3,000.

“It is a competitive business, we know that, but none of the mystery shoppers were given any documents and the majority of clinics recommended over treatment,” Dr Rehnberg said.

“The science has gone so far forward. We know there are many alternatives that are cheaper and less invasive than a root canal.

“We earn less money as dentists, as insurance companies do not always pay for these kind of alternative treatments, but they are usually better for the patient.”

Dentists said nine out of ten patients in pain did not need a root canal treatment, yet the procedure was still offered.

“The Hollywood smile is big business; it looks good but many patients I see for follow up work it is clear it has been done in a hurry,” Dr Rehnberg said.

“Cosmetics are very popular, but many dentists are not describing the pros and cons to patients. “There is always risk.”

Veneers at a cost of between Dh2,000 to Dh4,000 per tooth were commonly prescribed, instead of a cheaper option of bleaching.

To achieve the perfect smile, patients can expect to pay anything from Dh12,000 to Dh40,000 for veneers, whereas bleaching can cost just Dh2,000.

Dentists have said proper record keeping is crucial to maintain a transparent industry.

Dr Nasser Fouda has been in the UAE since 1996 and said a common trend is dentists viewing their practice as more of a business than providing healthcare.

“Many dentists call people clients, rather than patients and want to make money – they are more like teeth mechanics, and are happy to drill, screw or carry out a root canal,” he said.

“Patients may go in for a simple filling, and end up with a crown – that’s not always the best option.

“Dentistry teams often want to do everything themselves, rather than call in specialists to maximise their profits. This is not always the best option.

“It’s preferable to preserve natural teeth for as long as possible, as the structure is much better and artificial products will never be as good as enamel and dentine.”

There are clear rules and regulations for dentistry to follow, and clinics must adhere to a strict operating policy imposed by regulators – either the Dubai Health Authority or Department of Health.

DHA has said its regulators inspected 59 clinics in Dubai in 2017, issuing seven warnings and handing out 25 fines for misdemeanors around fraud, waste and abuse.

“At the Health Funding Department we do not directly regulate provider service pricing at this time,” said Ali Lutfi, Head of Insurance Permit at Health Funding at the DHA.

“However, we do conduct inspections across all medical providers in the Emirate from a financial aspect – including hospitals, medical centers, dental clinics and pharmacies. Our inspections mainly look for fraud, waste and abuse (FWA).

“Part of our licensing requirements for insurance companies and third party administrators is for them to provide us with quarterly FWA reports, highlighting any providers with suspected FWA.

“We select providers to inspect based on these reports and feedback from members via our various complaints channels.”

The Department of Health did not respond to a comment request in time for publication.

By Nick Webster
May 12, 2018


Article Link: