Going to the dentist in W1 is not just about dealing with decay and gum disease, another important thing we are always on the lookout for is oral cancer.
Mouth cancers can develop almost anywhere in the soft tissues of the mouth: the tongue, the cheeks, the gums, the roof of the mouth and the lips. Less commonly, cancers can also grow on the saliva glands, the tonsils or the back of the throat.
Part of our job as your dentist in W1 is to give you regular checks for oral cancers.
Symptoms of mouth cancer
As your dentist in W1, we will check the inside of your mouth for
- mouth ulcers that refuse to heal
- strange lumps in the mouth and neck that don’t go away
- odd numbness on the lips and tongue
- red or white patches
- development of a lisp.
We will look carefully inside your mouth and also feel into your neck.
Who is at risk of mouth cancer
Mouth cancer is directly linked to lifestyle, so it tends to show up in later life. If you are aged between 50-74, you are more likely to develop mouth cancers.
What you have been up to in your life will also determine the likelihood of your developing oral cancers. Needless to say, if you have been a smoker, or smoke now, you are more likely to develop mouth cancers. Your chances also go up if you are a regular drinker.
If you do both, then you are at even more risk. This is because the carcinogens from the tobacco dissolve into the alcohol and can then move into the cells more easily.
You are also at more risk if you’ve had a poor diet, so eating more fresh fruit and vegetables is a good idea. Obesity is also linked to mouth cancers.
Younger people at risk
Generally speaking, younger people are at less risk of developing mouth cancer. But if you have human papilloma virus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts, the risk goes up.
If you feel that you fall into any of the above categories and have never, to your knowledge, been checked for mouth cancers, please do ask for a check.