Oral cancer is ranked amongst the most common cancers in the world. It describes a number of cancers occurring in the region of the mouth, including lips, tongue and floor of the mouth. However it can also occur on the cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth, tonsils and salivary glands.
Rates in Australia are particularly high due to sun exposure on the lower lip. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and the human papillomavirus (HPV) also contribute to the development of the disease.
We routinely check your mouth for oral cancer at each visit.
Around 59% of oral cancer in Australia is caused by smoking and 31% by excess alcohol consumption. Cancers of the lip have been linked to excessive UV exposure.
Therefore practising sun safety is an important step in prevention.
Poor oral hygiene and gum disease are also linked to the development of the disease.
The disease is notoriously difficult to detect as people rarely feel discomfort or are aware of it. Regular dental check ups are an important part of early detection and minimising complex/debilitating interventions.
Treatment for oral cancer often involves surgery and radiation. Quite often resulting in reduced saliva flow and leading to dry mouth. Along with dry mouth come several complications including difficulty swallowing and chewing, difficulty speaking and increased risk of gum disease.
Each time the dentist does a comprehensive oral exam they inspect your lips, tongue, cheeks, palate, floor of the mouth and back of the throat for any signs of oral cancer.
Commonly Asked Questions
As we mentioned above, having regular general dentistry check ups is the best way to monitor the health of your mouth and reduce the risk of oral cancer.
Additionally brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day will reduce the build up of bacteria in the mouth.
Lastly, consuming a whole foods diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, good quality protein and good fats is essential.
Please note the above information is to raise awareness about this disease. If you are concerned about oral cancer or would like to know more then it is best to visit your dentist or dental hygienist.
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