West Wickham Dental Practice are proud to be supporting this year’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.
Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat and it is currently one of the few cancers set to see an increase in diagnosis over the next few years. It can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal or as a white or red patch in the mouth. It can also manifest as a lump in your mouth, jaw or neck area or as persistent hoarseness.
If you notice any of these signs it is important that you visit your dental team, as soon as possible, as if detected early mouth cancer has a 9 in 10 rate of survival.
Mouth cancer can affect anybody but there are certain lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of developing the disease.
- Smoking – Smoking is currently the leading cause of mouth cancer. Tobacco transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and can cause them to turn cancerous.
- Alcohol – Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to more than a third of mouth cancer cases in men and a fifth of cases in women. Heavy drinkers and smokers are up to 35 times more at risk.
- HPV – HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that experts predict will become the leading risk factor for mouth cancer within the next 10 years.
- Diet – A healthy balanced diet can help reduce the risk of developing a wide range of health conditions and mouth cancer is no different.
- When brushing your teeth, be sure to look out for any changes in your mouth, any red or white patches or ulcers.
- Think about quitting smoking.
- Ensure you keep your alcohol consumption within the current guidelines.
- A healthy diet, rich in vitamins, helps to protect against the development of many cancers
- Visit your dentist as often as they recommend for routine check-up appointments
- Be sure to protect yourself in the sunshine by using a good protective sun cream on your face and neck and a barrier cream on your lips.
If you are concerned about any changes in your mouth or would like help and advice on reducing your risk factors do not hesitate to call West Wickham Dental Practice on 0208 776 1188 and book a consultation today.