Although relatively uncommon, oral cancers can be extremely serious.
Mouth cancers are probably less well known to the general public than breast or lung cancers, for example, and are not as common. The damage that they can cause though should not be underestimated, and over two thousand people a year are thought to die from this particular form of cancer.
Whilst we are not cancer experts as such, our Clapham dentists and hygienists do have an important role to play in both the prevention and early detection of oral cancers.
As with any medical condition, prevention is preferable to treatment, and the good news is that the risk of mouth cancer can, by and large, be significantly reduced with a little self control and professional care. A good oral health regimen, combined with professional dental supervision, will go a long way towards having a healthy mouth.
There are certain patients though, who are at an increased risk. Anybody who smokes and/or drinks alcohol in large quantities is more likely to suffer from this potentially fatal disease. Both tobacco and alcohol contain carcinogens which can damage the DNA within cells and lead to cancers. Stopping or significantly reducing both of these habits will greatly improve your chances of avoiding mouth cancers.
In addition to stopping these potentially cancer forming habits, one way in which you can greatly improve the health of your mouth is to make an appointment with our dental hygienist. Not only will your teeth and gums be thoroughly cleaned, but this is also an excellent way of understanding your oral health better, including learning methods to keep your mouth cleaner and healthier.
Whilst prevention is the ultimate aim; where oral cancers have occurred, early detection is often key to the best possible outcome from any future medical treatment that might be needed. Our Clapham dentists are in an excellent position to observe any changes to a patient’s mouth during their regular six monthly check up. We not only examine your teeth and gums, but also the soft tissues of the mouth, including cheeks and gums.
Symptoms of oral cancer can vary, but may include signs such as persistent mouth ulcers, lumps in the mouth, red or sore patches amongst others. If we notice any possible symptoms that give cause for concern, we may recommend that you make an appointment to see your doctor for further examination. It is worth noting that although early detection is important; being recommended to see your doctor does not mean that we have detected cancers. That is a job for your doctor and there may well be a more simple explanation for the issue that we have detected. It is always better to be safe than sorry though and we do recommend that you follow our advice.
Regular dental visits are important, not only for early detection of any oral cancers, but in order to keep your mouth healthy and free of decay or gum disease. If you have not seen a dentist for six months or more, for any reason, why not call the Confidental Clinic in Clapham on 020 7801 9060 to arrange an appointment and get your oral health back on track.