Mouth Cancer Action Month

03 Nov 2021

Mouth Cancer Action Month

Our mouth helps us to breathe, talk, eat and swallow. Mouth cancer includes any cancer in the oral cavity including the lips, the front two thirds of the tongue, the upper and lower gums, the inside lining of the cheek and lips, the floor of the mouth, the roof of the mouth and the area behind the wisdom teeth.

Sadly, last year more than 2,700 people lost their life to mouth cancer in the UK. The ten-year survival rate is between 18% and 57% depending on where the cancer strikes and how early it is diagnosed. Almost nine-in-ten (86%) British adults have now heard of mouth cancer. However, awareness on the signs, symptoms and risk factors is poor at only 16%. The team at Teeth & Smiles want to change this. So, in this month’s blog we are looking at the main factors which can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer.

  • Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking tobacco and consuming large quantities of alcohol are the two main risk factors for mouth cancer. 2 in 3 mouth cancers are linked to smoking, where alcohol is linked to just under a third of all mouth cancers. If you smoke and drink alcohol to excess, it trebles your mouth cancer risk.

To reduce your risk be sure to keep your alcohol consumption within the weekly guidelines, of a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week for both men and women and consider quitting smoking.

  • 2021_11_03_blog_image_002Diet

A poor diet can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer. This can be due to a lack of vitamins and minerals.

A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables seems to reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer. Food’s high in antioxidant vitamins help to prevent damage to body cells.

  • Sunlight and Sunbeds

Skin cancers are relatively common on the face and neck as these are areas most often exposed to ultra-violet light. Both the sun and tanning beds give off ultra-violet rays. These rays can cause skin cancers in unprotected skin. Melanoma the most serious type of skin cancer can occur on the lips.

To reduce your risk be sure to use a high factor sun cream on your face and neck. If you still want that sun kissed look there are many self-tanning products available which pose no risk to your health.

  • 2021_11_03_blog_image_003Mouth Conditions

Some changes can occur in the cells in the lining of the mouth, causing red or white patches to appear. In some people over time these changes may develop into mouth cancer. At your dental appointments your dentist will be able to notice any changes and will then refer you to have them analysed further.

Top tips to ensure that your mouth stays healthy

  • Visit your dentist for regular appointments so that any problems can be identified early and treated quickly.
  • 2021_11_03_blog_image_004When brushing your teeth look out for any red or white patches or ulcers that do not clear up within three weeks
  • When out in the sun be sure to use a high factor sun cream on your face and neck and a barrier cream on your lips.
  • Ensure you have a full a varied diet, rich in vitamins.
  • Cut down on the amount you smoke and drink

If you are worried about any of the risk factors or have noticed any changes in your mouth or gums call Teeth & Smiles on 020 7352 7049 and book a consultation appointment today.