Each year in New Zealand, the first full week of August is Dental Health Week. The ADA, along with all dental professionals want to help you keep your teeth for life. Not to mention the confidence that comes with healthy teeth, a dazzling smile and fresh breath!
Occasionally, despite taking the best care possible of your teeth, including brushing correctly, flossing and yearly check-ups, the health of your mouth can come under attack of a different nature. The worst-case scenario is that you may develop mouth cancer.
The good news about mouth cancer
Before you panic, let’s start with the good news about mouth cancer. If it is detected early, it is curable. In fact, now more than ever, mouth cancer is survivable.
7 Symptoms to look for in order to detect mouth cancer early
Through their lives. many people suffer from common ailments affecting the health of their mouths. Among many possible causes are allergies, dietary deficiencies, emotional stress, hormonal changes, infections, menstrual periods, trauma, and tobacco use. The soft tissues of your mouth, including your lips, the inside of your cheeks, floor and roof of your mouth, your gums, and your tongue can be affected. More times than not, mouth sores are a minor irritation that last only 1 or 2 weeks.
Which is why it’s important to seek medical attention when the sore or red or white patches haven’t gone in 2 weeks and especially if they develop after you have begun a regime of new medication. Apart from an allergic reaction to the medication, it could indicate a viral infection such as herpes simplex, or the more severe cause – mouth cancer.
The most important thing to remember
If you visit your doctor immediately upon seeing one of these symptoms in your mouth, they may be able to rule out cancer saving you from worry.
The 7 things to keep an eye out for in your mouth
You brush and floss twice a day, right? Take the time to open your mouth as wide as possible and check your lips, the roof and floor of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks, and your tongue. Don’t forget to look under your tongue. You’ll soon spot anything that’s needing attention, like:
#1: A lip or mouth sore that isn’t healing
#2: A growth or lump inside your mouth
#3: A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth
#4: Ear pain
#5: Difficulty or pain when swallowing, chewing, or even opening your mouth
#6: Loose teeth that haven’t come loose in an accident
#7: Mouth pain
How is mouth cancer treated?
- Surgery is often the only treatment required to remove the tumour and possibly the lymph nodes in your neck. Reconstruction may be required for large tumours.
- Radiation, and sometimes chemotherapy is also used.
Remember what we said at the beginning
Mouth cancer is curable, if it is caught early. Don’t panic and don’t shy away from visiting your dentist or your doctor if you’re concerned.
If you have any concerns about the health of your teeth or your mouth, please contact us on 0508 TEAM DENTAL and set up an appointment today. We’ll make an assessment and talk through any concerns you may have.