Are you able to recognise the changes in your mouth? That’s the question posed by Smile Essential as they support a charity campaign to raise awareness of mouth cancer.
The dental practice, based on Narborough Road, is urging Leicester residents to be more mouthaware and recognise the early warning signs of mouth cancer, ahead of November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.
With awareness of the disease remaining alarmingly low, Smile Essential says that a simple 45-second check is often all that’s needed to identify anything unusual and be able to then seek professional guidance.
Dr Niket Patel from Smile Essential Dental Practice says: “Early diagnosis transforms our chances of beating mouth cancer from 50 per cent to 90 per cent so it is crucial that we know what to look out for and that we do not hesitate in seeking advice from a health professional.
“A mouth ulcer that does not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area, can all be potential signs of mouth cancer so it’s important to be aware of any changes occurring inside your mouth.
“Quite often it is easier to notice lumps and bumps on the outside of the body or to dismiss a mouth ulcer as benign. Most of us will spend at least a few minutes every day in front of a mirror brushing our teeth so while we’re there it makes sense to have a quick look inside the mouth.
“If you keep a lookout for these symptoms then a simple 45-second check really could save your life.
“If you notice anything out of the ordinary, please speak to your dentist or a doctor.”
Mouth Cancer Action Month takes place throughout November and is organised by the Oral Health Foundation.
With around 8,300 Brits diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, the disease is one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers, with cases rising by a third in the last decade alone.
Survival rates of mouth cancer have not improved in the last 20 years and the oral health charity is concerned that too many are mouth cancers are being diagnosed at a late stage, significantly reducing our chance to beat the disease.
Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE added: “Mouth cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheek, throat and gums.
“Mouth cancer can have a devastating effect on a person’s life, impacting on their breathing, eating and speech. Reconstructive surgery could also change their appearance while the experience often has an impact on confidence and self-esteem.
“By developing a greater understanding about the early warning signs and symptoms, the lifestyle factors which increase our risk, and recognising where to go if we notice anything unusual inside our mouth, we can detect mouth cancer early. This will not only improve our chances of beating it but will also reduce the amount of invasive surgery needed to treat it.
“During every dental check-up, your dentist will do a visual examination for mouth cancer and look for anything that might be a cause for concern. That’s why it’s so important to keep regular dental check-ups – it’s not just about the health of our teeth and gums – a trip to the dentist could really be a lifesaver.”
To find out more information about mouth cancer and Mouth Cancer Action Month, please visit www.mouthcancer.org
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Cut down on how much sugary food and drink you have, and how often you have them.
- Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
- They are specially trained in the prevention and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease which is the main cause of adult tooth loss and also to give advice on all aspects of good oral health.
- Skill and experience gained focusing on all aspects of gums and soft tissues.
- A dental hygienist will have more time to spend giving personalised oral hygiene advice.
- Demonstrate effective tooth brushing technique which is important to have a healthy mouth and avoiding damage
- Minimise your risk of tooth loss
- Reduce the risk of developing tooth decay and need for fillings
- Minty fresh breath and sparkly clean teeth
- Better overall health and wellbeing
To the thousands of you who supported us during Mouth Cancer Action Month – thank you. Your activities and events were truly inspiring and undoubtedly had an impact on how much people know about this truly terrible disease.
At the Oral Health Foundation, we want to the get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage by raising awareness of the disease while encouraging everybody to be more vigilant about changes in their mouth.
As an entirely independent charity, the Oral Health Foundation relies on the generosity of its supporters to continue its mission and address the inequalities which exist in mouth cancer.
Our vision is to live in a world where nobody loses their live to mouth cancer.
Your donation will support us in our year-round efforts improve the public’s knowledge of mouth cancer, allow us to provide even more advice and support while enabling us to continue our political work so that we can reduce those affected by mouth cancer while improving the quality of treatment and support in aftercare.
If our work can save just one of the 2,700 lives that are lost to mouth cancer every year, then it is a more than worthy cause.
Visit www.dentalhealth.org to learn more about our campaigns and activities.
Early diagnosis is vital. It increases our chances of beating the disease and gives us a much higher quality of life. Self-checks and regular dental visits are extremely important for spotting mouth cancer in its initial stages. If in doubt, get checked out!Causes of Mouth Cancer Smoking Around one in six (17%) oral cavity cancers are directly caused by smoking. The risk of being diagnosed with mouth cancer for a smoker is almost double (91%) that of a never-smoker. Alcohol Drinking alcohol to excess is responsible for around a third of all mouth cancers. Those who drink more than 10 units of alcohol a week could be increasing the risk of mouth cancer by 81%. For those who heavily drink alcohol and also smoke the risk increases by 30 times. HPV The human papillomavirus (HPV) type-16 and 18 are linked to around three in four (73%) of oropharyngeal cancers and more than one in ten (12%) oral cavity and hypopharynx cancers. Risk is higher in those with more sexual partners. Age and gender As we get older, our cells and DNA become more damaged. This is either biological or from exposure to the other risk factors. We do not know why mouth cancer rates are higher in men, however, it could be due to greater exposure to risk factors. The other risk factors associated with mouth cancer include: areca (betel) nut, paan masala (Gutkha), chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, x-rays and gamma radiation, asbestos, salted fish, formaldehyde, wood dust, overexposure to sunlight, environmental smoke. One of the most important factors for early diagnosis of mouth cancer is self-examination at home. The other is to maintain regular dental visits, where visual mouth cancer checks are done as part of the routine check-up. If you would like more information on then further reading is available. The State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2018/2019 is the United Kingdom's first comprehensive review into mouth cancer. The report has been released by the Oral Health Foundation and Simplyhealth Professionals as part of November's Mouth Cancer Action Month. The State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2018/2019 looks at the very latest statistics for the disease. Read the report here...