|Mouth cancer or Oral cancer is a condition where an uncontrollable growth of cells invade and cause damage to a part of the mouth, this can be the tongue, the roof of the mouth, the gums, the inside of the cheeks or lips.
It can manifest in multiple ways, but some of the most common signs include:
– swellings, lumps, crusts that do not go away
– sores or eroded areas that do not heal within 3 weeks
– unexplained, persistent numbness on the lips or tongue
– sometimes, white or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue
– changes in speech, such as a lisp, hoarseness or a chronic sore throat.
So, what causes it?
The main risk factors are alcohol and tobacco, including smokeless tobacco such as paan, chewing tobacco and gutkha.
The combined effect of drinking alcohol and using tobacco multiplies your risk of developing mouth cancer. However it is important to note that over 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally.
What can we do to prevent it?
Visit your dentist regularly, even if you have no teeth, or are free from any apparent problems with your mouth or teeth. Your dentist will advise you how often you need a check-up.
If you would like help to stop smoking ask your dentist or GP for advice, there are free smoking service clinics available all over the country.
Keep alcohol to a low level; You are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
Have a balanced diet, increase your intake of non-starchy vegetables and fruit.
Early signs of mouth cancer can be easily detected by yourself; it takes less than a minute and can be lifesaving. Take the time to do a self check at home, especially in the time between dental visits.
Follow this link to check at home yourself: https://youtu.be/_6csIJAWj_s
Despite unprecedented challenges the profession has faced during the pandemic, Treetops has excelled in adapting to the changes during COVID-19 and we continue to provide care and advice to all our patients; come see us! and don’t forget:
If in doubt get it checked out!!