November 2018 is Mouth Cancer Action Month.
Beating mouth cancer is largely dependent on catching it early. Unfortunately, too many go unnoticed and unchecked for too long. It is important to be aware of what’s going on in your mouth, and if you notice anything out of the ordinary it is essential to tell your doctor or dentist.
Three common signs and symptoms of mouth cancers are
1. Mouth ulcers that don’t heal in 3 weeks
2. Red and white patches in the mouth
3. Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth, head or neck
4. Throat and swallowing pain lasting for over 2 weeks
5. Dramatic voice changes, especially in smokers
6. Persistent earaches
7. Numbness of lower lip and chin
When checking for mouth cancers follow this routine:
Head and neck – check that both sides look and feel the same, there are no lumps, bumps or tender swellings
Lips – pull out you lower lip, look and feel inside for any sores, changes in texture or colour. Repeat for upper lip
Cheek – pull out your cheek and look for red, white or dark patches, feel with your fingers for any lumps
Roof of the mouth – run your finger over the roof of the mouth and look for changes in colour
Tongue – stick your tongue out, check the surface, both sides and underneath the tongue
Floor of the mouth – check for lumps, swellings and unresolved ulcers
What can you do to minimise the risks of mouth cancer:
1. Avoid all tobacco products (smoking, chewing snuff-type etc)
2. Avoid heavy alcohol use
3. Avoid sun exposure to the lips
4. Maintain healthy mouth with thorough oral hygiene, brushing and flossing
5. Consider vaccination for HPV (Human Papilloma virus), which is strongly associated with some oropharyngeal cancers
6. Visit your dentist for regular oral cancer screening (part of the regular 6-monthly dental checkup)

We are here to help – for more information or to discuss any issues or questions further please contact Elwood Dental Group on 9531 6387 or email us at info@elwooddental.com.au