Mouth Cancer Action Month

Mouth Cancer Action Month

Every November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, a nationwide initiative backed by the Oral Health Foundation and designed to raise an understanding about the implications of mouth cancer and how we can all be more aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Mouth cancer is on the rise, with 8,302 new cases in the UK per year. In the last decade this figure has increase by a massive 49%.1

What are the risk factors?

While it is impossible to know what causes all mouth cancers, there are certain factors that are known to increase the risk, many of which are preventable lifestyle habits, including:

  • Smoking, chewing and smokeless tobacco – More than 60% of mouth cancers are linked to smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption – Alcohol is linked to 30% of mouth cancers, while smoking and drinking combined increases the risk of mouth cancer by 30 times
  • The HPV virus – already known as a major cause of cervical cancer, research shows HPV could soon rival smoking and drinking as a main cause of mouth cancer
  • Diet – an unhealthy diet lacking in vitamins and minerals has been linked to a third of mouth cancers.

In addition to these avoidable risk factors, a previous cancer history, or a family cancer history can also increase the risk of developing mouth cancer.

What are the signs?

The signs and symptoms to be aware of are:

  • Mouth ulcers that do not heal within three weeks
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • Any unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area.

If you notice anything unusual, always consult your GP or dental practice for an urgent appointment.

During every dental check-up at Bamford Dental Practice we always carry out routine mouth cancer screening. This involves checking for the signs listed above by looking and feeling all of the soft tissues areas in and around the mouth, head, and neck areas. If you would like to know more about mouth cancer, please get in touch on 01433 651 270.

 

Reference

  1. www.dentalhealth.org/stateofmouthcancer
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Have some questions

I am afraid of going to the dentist ... What can I do?

Come and see our gentle and relaxed team to talk through your concerns. We also offer sedation to reduce anxiety during treatment.

When should I take my child to the dentist for their first visit?

When their first baby teeth arrive, usually around 6 months of age. However, it is wise to get advice from your Dentist to prevent tooth decay even before the baby teeth erupt.

What causes cavities?

Sugar in food and drink is converted into acid by bacteria which live on the teeth. Reducing the frequency of sugary foods and drinks reduces the number of “acid attacks” and therefore regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste can help to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce decay.

Which is better, a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush?

Current evidence shows that an electric toothbrush can perform better than a manual toothbrush if used correctly. Electric brushes with a rotating ossolating head (for example, Oral B Professional) have been shown to give the best results. Don’t forget your inter-dental cleaning aids, such as TePe brushes and floss!

There are so many toothpastes to choose from; how do I know which one to use?

We recommend toothpaste with a fluoride content of 1,350 – 1,500 parts per million (ppm). In certain circumstances your Dentist may prescribe a toothpaste with a higher fluoride content (patients with extensive decay or patients with a dry mouth, please ask your Dentist for more details).

How often should I go to my dentist for a check-up?

We usually recommend a check-up every 6 months. Patients susceptible to dental decay or gum disease may need to be seen more frequently.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is caused by the body’s immune reaction to the build-up of dental plaque. If left untreated this can lead to the development of pockets between teeth and gums which can harbour bacteria. This can lead to bone loss which causes gum recession and undermines the support for teeth.

How safe are dental X-rays?

Most dental x-rays require a tiny dose of radiation. Did you know, a long-haul flight from London to New York can expose you to 30 more times radiation than a small x-ray inside your mouth.

How often should I go to my dentist for a check-up?

We usually recommend a check-up every 6 months. Patients susceptible to dental decay or gum disease may need to be seen more frequently.

Question of the month

If a person suffers from gum disease can they with correct treatment and following advise from dentist become free of this problem?

Yes, if a patient suffering from gum disease is treated correctly and if the patient follows the guidance of dental care professionals they can be ‘free’ of this problem but will need lifelong maintenance and monitoring to make sure the patient does not relapse and if they do, we can guide them and help them to control the disease and return to a maintenance phase