What signs do our dentists look for during your six monthly oral examinations?
Oral cancer is a growing problem, with a rise in this sometimes fatal illness being seen around the world.
Despite smoking being on the wane, other factors such as the HPV virus, poor oral health care and, problems specific to some countries, such as the chewing of the betel nut in India, appear to be increasingly contributing to the problem.
Oral cancers most commonly occur on the lips, tongue and gums, but can also affect the salivary glands, tonsils and sections of the windpipe. Even where the disease does not prove fatal, it can have devastating effects for the patient, with problems including difficulties in swallowing, speaking, and even breathing. Although we obviously hope that none of our Cheshunt patients suffer from this disease, the reality is that no one is immune. Spotting potential signs at an early stage offers the best opportunity for early treatment to start, which, in most cases, will improve the chances of a positive outcome.
Although, at The Lodge Dental Suite, we are not qualified to actually diagnose oral cancers, we are in an excellent position to monitor the condition of your mouth at regular intervals, providing that you maintain your six monthly examinations. Amongst the signs that we look for are:
- Red and/or white patches on the tongue or in the mouth generally
- Ulcers that have not healed over time
- Lumps on the soft tissue
- Unexplained oral bleeding
- Persistent sores
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
As well as visually checking for potential signs, we may ask you questions about your lifestyle too, if we feel that this may be a significant factor in your oral cancer risk.
What causes mouth cancers?