Mouth cancer action month

25th October 2018

Mouth Cancer

We are fast approaching November, and in the dental calendar, this month is Mouth Cancer Action Month.

As a team, we always support this cause as it helps bring awareness to a disease that, when caught early, can be treated simply but is often not noticed until it is too late or treatments are compromised.

So what is mouth cancer?

Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. More than 7,000 have been diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK in the last year – an increase of more than a third compared to a decade ago. See mouth cancer screening.

Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if cancer had been caught early enough. People with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those with cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.

These are reasons why we encourage all our patients to attend regularly and a least every six months for a routine Oral Health Assessment.

What is an oral health assessment?

It is a fancy name or a more modern name for what we used to call a Check-Up. However, calling it an Oral Health Assessment lets you know that we do so much more than just checking your teeth; in fact, checking teeth is the last thing on our list.

We will check

  • Your neck and head for lumps and bumps
  • Your jaw joint
  • All the soft lining of your mouth, including your tongue,  tonsils and into your throat
  • Your gums and gum supporting tissues
  • How your teeth meet together and move over each other
  • And finally, your teeth.

What are the signs of mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips.

Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal usually. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into cancer, as can any unusual lumps or swellings.

We recommend you are mouth aware and look for changes in your mouth.

It is essential to visit your dentist if these areas do not heal within three weeks.

How can I keep my mouth healthy?

It is essential to visit your dentist regularly; we recommend at least every six months, even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol.

When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth, and please let us know about any red or white patches, or ulcers, that have not cleared up within three weeks.

When exposed to the sun, be sure to use good protective sun cream, and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips.

A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, provides protection against the development of mouth cancer. Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body to protect itself, in general, from most cancers.

Cut down on your smoking and drinking.

This information is provided as part of the Mouth Cancer Action Month with lots more available on their website.

Remember, we are here to help. Anything you aren’t sure about, come and see us, we want to increase survival rates from this awful disease by helping spot lesions early.

Danielle is here to take your call. Tel 020 8224 7562.

Dr Ali Rifai BDS
Practice Principal
The Gentle Dental Practice

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