When you come to your dentist in Belsize Park for a check-up, we aren’t just checking for gum disease and tooth decay, we are also doing a thorough check for signs of cancer.
Mouth cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. Although, it is much less common in the UK, the bad news is that, according to Cancer Research UK, over the last decade, death rates from oral cancer have increased by 21%. The increase affects men and women equally.
We can help
At RP Advanced Dental Care, your dentist in Belsize Park, we are trained to detect early signs of mouth cancer, and use your six-monthly dental check-ups to carry out a cancer check. These days, after we have checked each of your teeth for signs of decay and destruction, and for signs of gums disease, we also look for early signs of tumours.
We take a good look at the linings of your mouth. Tumours tend to appear on the insides of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth (palate), or the lips or gums. It is possible, but less likely, that tumours can also develop in your saliva glands, your tonsils, and your pharynx – the part of the throat that connects your mouth to your windpipe.
Tumours are experienced as:
- painful mouth ulcers that don’t get any better
- strange lumps in the mouth that don’t go away
- strange lumps in the neck
- loose teeth, or sockets that won’t heal after extractions
- lips or tongue that feels numb or odd
- red or white patches
- changes in speech, such as a lisp.
Mouth cancer is more likely to affect drinkers and smokers. This may be why more men get it than women and why it is more prevalent in people over 50 and younger than 74.
The reason your Belsize Park dentist checks for mouth cancer is that, if it is caught early, it can often be cured with relatively minor surgery.