You may have seen our photos or even called into the practice and wondered why all the staff are wearing Blue lipstick. This is in support of mouth cancer awareness month where any donations or proceeds from the sale of the blue ribbons in the practice will be donated directly to mouth cancer. The girls have been busy taking ‘bluelipselfies’ ready to upload on to our Facebook to raise awareness of the disease.
If you would like to make a donation follow the link http://www.mouthcancer.org
What is Mouth Cancer?
Cancer is not a disease that only affects parts of the body body such as the lungs or breasts. It can also occur in the mouth, where the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.
Although it is more common in people over the age of 40, particularly men, anyone can be affected by mouth cancer whether they have their own teeth or not. Research has now shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. Mouth cancer is on the increase of more than a third compared to the last decade. In the last year 6,767 have been diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK.
Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught early enough. As it is, people with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those having cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.
What can cause mouth cancer?
Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to tobacco and alcohol. Smoking Cigarettes, cigars or a pipe are the main forms of tobacco use in the UK. However, the traditional ethnic habits of chewing tobacco, betel quid, gutkha and paan are particularly dangerous.
Alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer, and if tobacco and alcohol are consumed together the risk is even greater. Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips.
Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV.
What are the Signs of Mouth Cancer?
Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips.
Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. It is important to visit your dentist if these areas do not heal within three weeks.
Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dentist during a thorough mouth examination. If mouth cancer is recognised early, then the chances of a cure are good. Many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late.
The dentist examines the inside of your mouth and your tongue with the help of a small mirror. Remember, your dentist is able to see parts of your mouth that you cannot see easily yourself.
If your dentist finds something unusual they will refer you to a consultant at the local hospital who will carry out a thorough examination of your mouth and throat. After more tests, if the cells are found to be cancerous and the area or ulcer are small and spotted early, the chance of a complete cure are good.’
However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations.
It is important to visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol.
When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth, and report any red or white patches, or ulcers, that have not cleared up within three weeks.
When exposed to the sun, be sure to use a good protective sun cream, and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips.
A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, provides protection against the development of mouth cancer. Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body to protect itself, in general, from most cancers.
*Mouth Health Check* includes lips, neck glands, tongue, cheeks, palate and gums. This does not include teeth, fillings, denture or crown examination. All our existing registered patients who have had a dental examination within the last 6 to 12 months would also have had a mouth health check as part of their routine dental examination. If you have any concerns, or have not had a mouth examination for some time please do not hesitate to contact us on 01582 663838 or use the online booking service. Visit our facebook page and view our gallery of #bluelipselfies