What is a mouth cancer screening and how can I try to prevent mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer is also known as oral cancer, and occurs when a tumour develops in the lining of the mouth. Mouth cancer can occur in a variety of places within the mouth, such as the cheeks, the tongue, as well as the roof of the mouth (commonly known as the palate). Tumours can also be found within the glands of the mouth, (that essentially produce saliva), as well as the tonsils and pharynx (part of the throat connecting the mouth to your windpipe).

Mouth Cancer Screening in OrpingtonA mouth cancer screening is essentially an examination undergone by one of our dental healthcare professionals, in order to attempt to spot the stages of mouth cancer early ( a form of preventative dentistry). During a mouth cancer screening, certain areas of the mouth will be assessed and analysed.

There are a variety of steps our patients can take in order to prevent mouth cancer from occurring. One lifestyle choice you can make is to limit the amount of alcohol you consume (for example, not consuming more than the recommended weekly amount). Smoking can also be a huge factor in reducing the chances of oral cancer from occuring. One other lifestyle factor, which can greatly affect your chances of developing mouth cancer, is your diet; consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fish and oils (also known as a Mediterranean diet) can help to prevent cancer.

What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?

One obvious signs of oral cancer can be mouth ulcers, which may be sore and last for several weeks without going away (like normal mouth ulcers). Lumps within the mouth may also be a symptom; these are typically unexplained and do not go away. Lumps within the neck, looseness of teeth, as well as a strange feeling within the lips, are also symptoms.

What can I expect from a mouth cancer screening?

During your mouth screening with us, you may either have some expectations or have no idea what to expect. Essentially, the process is simple, and relatively quick, however it is  important, and should be undergone twice a year.

Your mouth screening will be extremely shorter than you expect, and you will be assessed using a hand held device to check for any lumps or lesions you may have. Using this hand held device will check for any potential risk factors, which means a correct treatment can be diagnosed by us as quickly as possible.

Why is it important for me to see the dentist?

Mouth cancer is extremely dangerous; this is why it is important to visit us regularly for check-ups, and if you have anything you view as a concern (such as a small lump or ulcer) then it is recommended that you see us straight away. It is vital for our patients to learn how to detect the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer early, in order to ensure the health of your mouth, and decrease the risk of developing cancer.