Oral Cancers – Prevention And Detection

What our Surbiton dentists look for during routine examinations.

During your regular six monthly dental examinations, our dentists will inspect for many things. Some of these are fairly obvious and include looking for signs of dental decay and gum disease. In addition to this, they also play an important front line role in the fight against oral cancers.

Although oral cancers may not have grabbed the attention of people in the way that breast and lung cancers have, there were over two thousand deaths from this in 2014 with many more people suffering from it in other ways. As with all cancers, the earlier it can be detected, the better the chance of effective treatment.

Increased oral cancer risks

A number of factors can increase the risk of oral cancer. The leading one of these is, unsurprisingly, smoking. Thankfully, most people are starting to realise the dangers of smoking tobacco products and have managed to stop altogether, or have switched to an alternative such as vaping.

Alcohol consumption can also contribute to oral cancer, especially if you are a regular drinker. There are other medical factors too which might raise the risk, including HPV. At the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton, we encourage those at a higher risk to take extra care of their oral health and, if recommended, see us more regularly to be extra vigilant.

Detection and symptoms

Early detection is important and your local dentist is in an excellent position to spot any potential signs of oral cancer. Most of our Surbiton patients have their mouth examined by us every six months or so – hence why we have an ideal opportunity to notice any symptoms that may concern us. These may include:

  • Sores or lumps in the oral cavity
  • Lesions of the mouth or lips
  • Swellings that make wearing dentures feel uncomfortable
  • Discomfort, pain or tenderness of the soft tissue
  • Problems with chewing or speaking

These are just a few potential signs that your dentist will look for and discuss with you should anything be spotted.

Precautions

If you are referred to your local GP for a more thorough examination, please remember that this is a precautionary measure and does not mean that you have been diagnosed with oral cancer. There can be many other causes for some of these problems that are not a medical threat. A suggestion to see your GP is purely to enable you to get a correct diagnosis at an early stage, bearing in mind that early detection means prompt treatment and hopefully much faster recovery should any issue be confirmed.

Regular dental appointments are important. If you have not had one in the last six months and live in the Surbiton area, please call the Confidental Clinic today on 020 8399 1291.