November is Mouth Cancer Awareness Month.
When you have your regular dental examinations as well as checking for any potential cavities or gum disease your dentist is also checking for early warning signs of medical conditions such as mouth cancer. It’s important to attend your recommended examinations set by your dentist as catching the signs early can be life-saving.
As a practice we want to spread awareness of the signs and symptoms, as well as the possible causes and prevention of mouth cancer.
The symptoms to look out for are:
- An ulcer that has not healed after 3 weeks.
- Red and White patches in the mouth.
- Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth, head or neck area.
The risk of developing oral cancer from smoking depends on the duration and frequency of tobacco use.
Those who smoke tobacco are 10 times more likely to develop mouth cancer compared to those who have never smoked.
Drinking alcohol to excess increases your risk of mouth cancer. Smoking and drinking together can increase the risk by up to 30 times. UK guidelines recommend a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week for both men and women.
An unhealthy diet and a lack of vitamins and minerals are also a factor.
It’s important to have a balanced diet including lots of fruit and vegetables.
It’s also important to be aware that excessive and unprotected exposure to the sun can cause harm.
There are ways in which you can help prevent the risks of mouth cancer.
Maintaining a good oral care routine by brushing twice a day, flossing and using mouthwash is an effective way to help reduce the risk.
Stopping smoking and limiting your alcohol intake will also lower the risk.
If you are spending time in the sun, make sure you are using a broad-spectrum lip balm and sunscreen.
If you do find anything unusual or you are concerned then please phone or visit the practice.
You can also click onto ‘The Oral Health Foundation’ website that has lots of helpful and relevant information – https://www.dentalhealth.org/mouthaware
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