We all know our dentist is there to help us to look after our teeth and gums. But your dentist could actually save your life. Mouth cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. However, most cancers in the mouth can be treated, as long as they are detected early. Ace Dental uses only the latest and most cutting-edge methods to detect early signs of cancer.
Mouth cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, the inside of your cheeks, the top of the mouth or on your lips or gums.
Symptoms of oral cancer can include pain in your mouth, mouth ulcers which either don’t heal at all or which keep recurring, lumps in your mouth or neck, loose teeth which can’t be explained by other causes, numbness in certain areas, patches of red or white in your mouth or a change in your speech.
Mouth cancer can develop in parts of your mouth which are not easy to see or reach. But, if caught early enough, the chances of a successful treatment for oral cancer are very high. That’s why regular dental check-ups are vital. Plus, if you are practising good dental hygiene methods, including visiting your dentist twice a year, your dentist will become familiar with the way your mouth, teeth and gums usually look and will be more likely to spot anything which is out of the ordinary.
It’s understandable that screening for cancer can be a worrying procedure. However, like most cancers, the earlier you detect mouth cancer, the more treatment options you will have. During your screening, your dentist will use special tools to look for any signs of discolouration, or lesions within your mouth. They will also carry out a fingertip examination, using gloved hands, to feel the soft tissue inside your mouth for any unusual growths or lumps. The goal of any screening is to detect cancer early to provide the best chance of a cure.
While cancer can be unpredictable, there are several factors which could increase your risk of getting mouth cancer. These include:
But, even if you don’t belong to any of these risk groups, that does not mean there is no risk of getting mouth cancer. That’s why it is crucial to have regular oral cancer screenings as part of your overall dental health checks.
Unfortunately, no one can predict with 100% accuracy who might be at risk of cancer. And, even if you live a healthy lifestyle you could still be diagnosed. Plus, while clearly every cancer diagnosis is traumatic, mouth cancer can have a severe impact on your day-to-day life even if you are eventually given the all-clear.
But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of oral cancer and increase your chances of recovery if you are diagnosed. As well as not smoking, cutting down your alcohol intake and eating a healthy diet, one of the best ways to protect yourself is to schedule regular mouth cancer screenings with your dentist.