Regular Dental Check-Ups for the Detection of Mouth Cancer
Why Regular Dental Check-Ups for Mouth Cancer are Important
Taking proper care of our mouth is often overlooked by many. Regular tooth brushing, dental check-ups, flossing, and avoiding harmful foods and drinks are all very important when it comes to maintaining high levels of dental hygiene and health. But unfortunately, a lot of us don’t always follow this advice, and this can increase our risk of developing dental health problems. While our actions, or lack thereof, can increase our chances of developing serious issues, there are also some that can develop without our influence and without warning. Therefore we must remain vigilant when it comes to taking care of our mouths and have regular check-ups with our dentists to identify these problems early.
Why Should We Visit The Dentist?
There are many reasons we might need to visit the dentist, and these tend to fall into one of two categories – health and cosmetics. It’s important to make sure you visit your dentist and hygienist regularly so that they can identify any potential dental issues you may have, ranging from damaged teeth to more serious issues like mouth cancer. While things like tooth decay and gum disease can be quite severe, a diagnosis of mouth cancer, as with any cancer, will be devastating news. This is why our expert team of Fulham dentists recommend regular check-ups to our patients, ensuring we can properly assess oral health as well as hygiene.
What Is Mouth Cancer?
This is where a tumour or tumours form in the mouth. These are clumps of cells that have begun to grow out of control and begin to damage the body, and spread to other areas around them. Cancer can grow anywhere in the body, but mouth cancer specifically can affect everything from the lips, gums, tongue, the inner cheeks, the space below your tongue and the roof of your mouth. It is sometimes referred to as oral cancer, and as with other cancers, can be very dangerous if left untreated. Our dental health can seriously impact our overall health and wellbeing. So it’s imperative that we continue to seek regular dental care where possible and identify any potentially harmful habits or lifestyle choices that could increase our risk.
What Can Cause Mouth Cancer?
Sometimes cancers can just appear without any real outside influence. They may be caused by something specific that you and your dentist will never be able to identify, or they can also be caused by something directly damaging to your health. While there is no clear cause of mouth cancer itself, there are some theorised factors that can increase our risk. This includes the use of tobacco products, whether it’s smoked or chewed, excessive alcohol consumption, UV exposure on the lips, and problems with your immune system. These could lead to the mutation of cells in the mouth, where the DNA is essentially corrupted, telling the cells to replicate and grow out of control.
How Is Mouth Cancer Treated?
When caught early, mouth cancer, like many other types of cancer, can be treated fairly swiftly and effectively. This is all dependent on a number of factors, including the size and type of the tumour, which stage it has reached, and the overall wellness of the patient. If the cancer is still isolated to the mouth, this is ideal, as simple surgery could cure this disease, removing the tumour completely. Unfortunately though, due to the nature of this disease, it can spread, and if it spreads to your neck and head, the process will be slightly more complicated. Larger cancers may require chemotherapy and radiotherapy to destroy the damaged cells and prevent further spreading before it’s uncontrollable.
Are There Ways To Prevent It?
Ideally, the best way you can prevent this is by ensuring you’re following quality oral care advice from your dentist, as well as cutting out any bad habits from your lifestyle. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes even those that take the most care with their lifestyle and follow all of the guidance available to them can still get mouth cancer, but there are ways to reduce your risk significantly. Ultimately you want to ensure you’re living a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. Staying fit and healthy can not only reduce your chances of developing certain diseases, including cancers, and making sure you eat the right foods, reducing your consumption of unhealthy foods, and avoiding the use of harmful substances like tobacco and other drugs, can also help to prevent these problems too. Also make sure to visit the dentist regulary as these things are best caught early.
Living With Mouth Cancer
The most important thing to do when you have been diagnosed with, or have detected some concerning symptoms, is to be proactive. Seeking professional help might be scary and make it all feel too real but dealing with the problems hastily is essential. That being said, there is nothing to be ashamed of when feeling fear and concern in a situation like this. Being diagnosed with an illness like this can be mentally debilitating and frightening. It’s important that you speak to employers and friends about this issue to ensure people are respectful of the adjustments you may need to make to your life, such as pulling out of social activities and having time off work for treatment.
Can Mouth Cancer Cause Other Problems?
The main issue with mouth cancers is that, if left untreated, they can spread to other areas of the head and neck, such as the brain and oesophagus. This spreading can lead to other serious problems such as difficulty eating and breathing, hampered speech, severe pain and discomfort and ultimately death. This can happen once cancer spreads to your essential organs, and the growth begins to restrict these vital components of the body, preventing them from doing their job properly. This is why it’s imperative to identify these problems early. Ensuring you’re signed up to a quality dentist with a proven track record of care and professional treatment should be a priority for you and your family to ensure you’ve got the best chance for serious illnesses to be detected.
Another issue people find when being diagnosed with a serious disease like cancer is a reduced income. Having to take time out of work can lead to a drop in your funds. However, you should be entitled to statutory sick pay, and there are also other benefits you can find from the government to help you deal with this issue.
Talking About Mouth Cancer
While cancers are much more treatable today than ever before, it still causes some unpleasant symptoms, as do many of the treatments, and in turn, can have a serious emotional impact too. It’s important to reach out to others when struggling with an illness like mouth cancer. As mentioned before, this can be a scary time, and the impact it can have on your mental health can be huge. While it’s worthwhile discussing your thoughts and feelings with friends and loved ones, you can also seek professional counselling services to help you to cope with this problem. Speak to your GP or specialist about your concerns, and they’ll be able to refer you to a professional.
After Effects Of Mouth Cancer
There are a number of physical problems that can be present after recovering from mouth cancer. One of the most common of these is damage to the mouth, where cancer has been removed. Luckily, professional dentists can provide you with quality restorative treatments like composite bonding , dentures, and implants, which can help to bring your smile back to its usual self. Speak to your dentist to find out what sorts of treatments would be ideal for you.