Prevention is, undoubtedly, better than cure, and this age-old adage rings true in the case of cancer prevention.
You can prevent oral cancer by learning about its symptoms and risk factors. Good oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent oral cancer to a large extent. Visiting the best dentist in North London will help you understand your dental health and also provide you with information on various oral cancer prevention methods.
According to the NHS, oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer globally, and in the UK, 8,300 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. More than half of the oral cancer cases occur in adults over 55 years of age, while less than 12% develop in adults younger than 50 years.
Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer
It’s crucial to know the common symptoms of oral cancer to be able to prevent it.
- A mouth or lip sore that doesn’t heal even after two weeks
- White or red spots inside the tongue or the mouth that don’t go away when wiped.
- Feeling unusual thickness or chronic sore throat that doesn’t subside even after weeks.
- Bleeding or inexplicable pain in the gums
- Bumps or small lumps around the mouth, inside the mouth, lips, head, and neck.
- Changes in voice – hoarseness
- Some other symptoms include the inability to chew, swallow, or move your jaw or tongue. Other signs include pain, numbness, tenderness, or a difference in the way in which your upper and lower teeth fit together.
What Do Dentists Look for During the Checkup?
During your regular dental checkup, your dentists check for signs of oral cancer. By looking at your gums, lips, tongue, and mouth, your dentist can make a judgment about your oral hygiene.
The dentist will check for gingivitis or gums conditions by looking at the sides and under the tongue. The dentist will inspect inside the cheeks for any bumps, discolouration, and abnormalities.
Finally, the dentist will thoroughly examine the floor and roof of your mouth.
Are there any Risk Factors Associated with Oral Cancer?
Risk factors of oral cancer include:
- Patients above 55 years of age are at risk.
- Men are more at risk when compared with women.
- Excessive tobacco use leads to oral cancer. Tobacco users are said to be more than 50 times more likely to get oral cancer.
- Alcohol drinkers are more susceptible to oral cancer than non-drinkers.
- HPV or Human Papillomavirus is highly associated with oral cancer
- Excessive exposure to the sun from an early age.
- An unbalanced diet with fewer fruits and vegetables increases the risk of oral cancer.
- Previous diagnosis of oral cancer.
If you think you need an accurate diagnosis, contact a reputed oral cancer screening dentist as soon as possible.
Why is the Early Detection of Oral Cancer Crucial?
Early detection of oral cancer helps in devising a proper management plan. Cancer detected at a later stage can turn out to be life-threatening too.
Your dentist is as much interested in your teeth as they are in the condition of your oral tissues. If your dentist finds any anomalies, he/she would suggest a biopsy of the abnormal tissues. If cancer is detected, you can be treated using either of the three methods – Complete tissue removal, chemotherapy, and/or radiotherapy.
Effective management and treatment of oral cancer are possible only with early detection of symptoms. The first step you should take in maintaining good oral hygiene is reaching out to the emergency dentist in North London right away.