When you get into the dental chair for a check-up, you may think that your dental team is simply looking for cavities or signs of gum disease.
And while that is true, they are also looking for signs of oral cancer, which is currently on the rise in the UK.
But are there ways for you to detect oral cancer at home?
Below are 5 of the most common signs of oral cancer that you can look for while brushing your teeth.
Mouth ulcers are extremely common and can be caused by anything from feeling a bit under the weather to stress.
But if you have persistent mouth ulcers in the same part of your mouth, or notice that one of them has grown to the size of a 5 pence piece, then you need to see your dentist Dublin promptly.
Lumps and bumps
Nobody likes an unexplained lump, and if you spot one anywhere in your mouth when you are brushing, it is likely to raise a red flag.
However, most lumps on the gums are a signifier of stress, over-exertive brushing or may even indicate an early symptom of gum disease. Irrespective of this, if you notice that there is an issue with lumps or bumps in your mouth, under your tongue or on your inner cheek(s), please seek advice from your dental team as soon as possible. This also applies if you have a lump on the roof of your mouth or at the back of your mouth near the tonsils.
There is a myth that as people age, their teeth simply fall out.
And while many things can cause teeth to come loose, such as gum disease or injury, if you notice that one tooth or multiple teeth have come loose, then you will need to talk to your dental practitioner promptly to identify the cause.
If you notice that part of your mouth has gone numb (including any part of the tongue), this needs to be explored via a dental expert. This also applies if you notice numbness on your lips or anywhere in your mouth.
In most cases, this is temporary and can be a side effect of medication or illness. But if it persists for longer than a week, seek urgent medical attention and inform your dental clinic.
Red or white patches
Red patches inside the mouth can be difficult to spot at the very least!
But if you notice a red spot or patch anywhere on your gums or your inner cheeks, then this requires urgent assessment by a dental team. Similarly, any white patches in these same areas require immediate attention from a medical professional.
Remember, oral cancer has one of the highest survival rates of all cancers and can be prevented by adhering to good lifestyle habits such as refraining from smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol. Maintaining regular check-ups with your dental team will also help with the diagnostics and treatment of any oral cancers, so be sure to attend these appointments at least biannually. Stay safe!