Oral Health and Mouth Cancer

Whichever way you boil it down, a regular oral hygiene regime is a person’s first line of defence in minimizing and often preventing a wide range of possible health issues. The scientific and medical communities have already established that there are close links between our oral health and heart issues for example. There is also mounting evidence to suggest that poor oral health may be linked to mouth cancer too.

What exactly is oral cancer?

When put in the simplest terms, cancer cells are continuously growing and then dying (as they should) in our bodies all of the time. This is a part of the body’s natural process. The problems occur when the cells don’t die or become “abnormal” at which point they become cancer. In instances of oral cancer, these cells form in the mouth, throat, tongue, gums, and even lips to become lumps or sores.

Symptoms of oral cancer

The most common symptoms of oral cancer are a pain in the throat, teeth, or jaw. Other signs may be sores and lumps that won’t heal and even severe bad breath. As with some cancers that affect other areas of the body, the symptoms can often be similar to those of other less serious disorders.

Reducing your risk of oral cancer

While there is no accepted evidence to suggest that any of the following are causes of oral cancer, they are all known to increase a person’s risk. These are smoking and other tobacco-related products including chewing tobacco, excessive alcohol usage, hereditary factors, and the HPV virus.

Why early detection is crucial

While the jury may still be out when it comes to reaching a resounding agreement that there is a definite link between poor oral hygiene and mouth cancer, early detection does save lives. Leaving things to “get better on their own” could be one of the most dangerous steps towards ending up with serious issues.

Whether or not oral health and cancer are connected, the one thing you can be certain about is that cancers that are left untreated can grow and cause secondary tumours in other parts of the body. The great thing about visiting your dentist on a regular basis is that they will know the difference between an unambiguous sore or swelling and something more serious.

Working together with your dentist

No one is likely to argue against maintaining good oral hygiene through regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash. No one knows their own mouth better than you do and that means you are likely to spot any problems first. Just by adopting a regular oral hygiene habit you are far more likely to detect anything unusual in your mouth.
In the unlikely event that you do detect something you are not comfortable with between regular check-ups, you should contact your dentist immediately.

It is worth remembering, of course, that the majority of issues turn out to be common dental problems that are easily resolved by your dentist.

If you have any concerns concerning your oral health you should contact the dedicated dental team at Signal Hill Dental Centre right now!