Mouth cancer checks
When you come to the practice for a check-up, we will not just be looking out for tooth decay and gum disease, we will also carry out a thorough check for mouth cancer.
This is the sixth most common cancer in the world. Mouth cancer is on the rise in the UK. Cancer Research UK says that over the last decade, the number of deaths from mouth cancer has risen by 21%, with the similar numbers among both men and women. Along with this revelation is the news that the number of people dying from mouth cancer in the UK is projected to go up by 38% between 2014–2035. In 2035, there is predicted to be seven deaths per 100,000 people.
Mouth cancer is linked to smoking, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, and drinking alcohol, in that order. This could be why more men get it than women, and why it is more prevalent in people over 50 and younger than 74.
How we can help
At Savernake Dental, your dentist can spot the early signs of mouth cancer during your six-monthly check-up. We do this after we have inspected each of your teeth for signs of decay and damage, and checked your gums for signs of gingivitis and periodontitis.
Certain cancer tumours can show up in the linings in the body, so we will look very carefully at the linings of your mouth — the roof of your mouth (palate), the insides of your cheeks, lips and gums. We will go on to make sure there are no tumours developing in your saliva glands, your tonsils, and your pharynx (the part of the throat that connects your mouth to your windpipe), although these tumours are rarer.
You can alert us to suspected tumours by informing us of any:
- painful mouth ulcers that don’t respond to treatment;
- strange persistent lumps;
- loose teeth, or sockets that refuse to heal after extractions;
- numb or odd-feeling lips or tongue;
- red or white patches;
- changes in your speech, such the development of a lisp.
The reason we check for mouth cancer is that, if it is caught early it can often be cured with minor surgery.