April is Oral Health Awareness Month and a reminder that a visit to your dentist is a great choice in taking care of your oral health. Signs symptoms of mouth cancer identified in the early stages will allow professionals in the field an opportunity to treat you accordingly.
Dental care is a lifelong commitment and your dentist is the best authority to advise you on proper dental care at home in addition to regular check-ups at the office. Regular examinations with your dentist will identify any problems happening in your mouth and deal with it before it turns into a serious problem.
The Canadian Dental Association states:
”The reality is that oral health problems could be a sign of something serious such as oral cancer. Every year approximately 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer and 1,050 deaths from oral cancer occur. This devastating disease has a low survival rate because it is often diagnosed very late. With early detection the survival rate of oral cancer can be greatly improved. This means going to your dentist for regular dental exams. Your dentist has the training and experience to detect oral cancer early.”
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned below your dentist/doctor should be consulted immediately.
This following article is credited to the Mayo Clinic Staff
“Symptoms and Causes
A sore that doesn’t heal
A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth
Poorly fitting dentures
Jaw pain or stiffness
Difficult or painful swallowing
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor or dentist if you have any persistent signs and symptoms that bother you and last more than two weeks. Your doctor will likely investigate other more common causes for your signs and symptoms first, such as an infection.
Mouth cancer occurs when cells on your lips or in your mouth develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. These mutations allow cancer cells to grow and divide when healthy cells would die. The accumulating mouth cancer cells can form a tumour. With time they may spread to other areas of the mouth and on to other areas of the head and neck or other parts of the body.
Mouth cancers most commonly begin in the flat, thin cells (squamous cells) that line your lips and the inside of your mouth. Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
It’s not clear what causes the mutations in squamous cells that lead to mouth cancer. But doctors have identified factors that may increase the risk of mouth cancer.
Factors that can increase your risk of mouth cancer include:
Heavy alcohol use
Excessive sun exposure to your lips
A sexually transmitted virus called human papillomavirus”
Diet and exercise helps in maintaining a healthy body. The same is true when you maintain a healthy mouth. If you have an unhealthy mouth it will affect your entire body.
Research has shown there is an association between oral disease and other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, respiratory illness in older adults, as well as pre-term and low-birth-weight babies. Although researchers are just beginning to understand this relationship, evidence shows that oral disease can aggravate other health problems and that keeping a healthy mouth is an important part of leading a healthy life.