Are you able to recognise the changes in your mouth? That’s the question that was posed by So Dental this Mouth Cancer Action Month

The Cambridgeshire dental practice is urging Chatteris residents to be more mouth aware, all year round and recognise the early warning signs of mouth cancer.

With awareness of the disease remaining alarmingly low, So Dental say that a simple 45 second check is often all that is needed to identify anything unusual and be able to then seek professional guidance.  This is similar to the message and self-examination the Mouth Cancer Foundation promotes…#MC7

Dr En-Qi Chi from So Dental says: “Early diagnosis transforms our chances of beating mouth cancer 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.”

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 oral health charities are concerned that too many mouth cancers are being diagnosed at a late stage, significantly reducing our chance to beat the disease.

Mouth cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheek, throat and gums. It 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 is 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 life saver.

Mouth Cancer Action Month took place throughout November. So Dental have been raising money throughout the month with raffles, cake sales and a special coffee morning on Monday 18th November. They wish to thank everyone who supported their fundraising efforts throughout the month.