Mouth Cancer – Seriously, how well do you know your mouth?
Provided below is a guide about what to look for in your mouth and the best way to check and assess your mouth and oral cavity. These simple assessments only take a couple of moments of your time but may very well save your life!
During any routine six month check-up with your dentist he or she will perform a full oral screening and will notice any changes in your mouth, especially ones that may look cancerous. When it comes to cancer early diagnosis is vital, so it is important that your dentist and you know your mouth and can be aware of any critical changes early.
Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, even if you wear dentures, smoke or don’t smoke, drink alcohol or not, or even if you believe you have perfect oral health, the risk may still be there.
Your oral health guide:
Your face and head
Take a good look at your face in the mirror, check to see that both sides look the same? Is there anything that is there now that weren’t there before? Is one side swollen or are there any new or strange lumps or bumps? Turn your head from side to side as the skin is pulled taught does this reveal anything unusual?
Check for lumps using your fingers, press gently along the sides and at the front of your neck and along your jawbone. Is anything tender or unusual?
In turn, pull back your lower and upper lips looking inside for any changes in colour or texture. Are there spots or sores? Again, use your fingers to check for anything that is unusual or wasn’t there the last time you checked.
Again using a mirror, poke out your tongue; look carefully at the top, the sides and underneath in turn. Is it swollen or has it changed colour? Again check for spots, ulcers, swelling or tenderness.
Open your mouth wide and turn your face side on so that you can see deep inside your cheek, now check for any red or white patches or lumps, use your finger and thumb to gently massage over your cheek flesh, looking for any lumps bumps, ulcers or tenderness.
Using a hand held mirror check the roof of your mouth by tilt your head back checking for any lumps, ulcers or changes in texture or tenderness. Now lift your tongue and do the same on the floor of your mouth.
If you do these simple exercises when you brush your teeth you will get to know your mouth and know quickly if any changes occur.
If mouth cancer is detected early the chances of a complete cure are good, however, too many people come forward too late. If you notice any lumps that don’t go away, any numbness of your lips or tongue, or a mouth ulcer that lasts longer than three weeks, you should make an appointment to see your GP or dentist.
If you have any concerns about your oral health don’t wait, please call Hobart’s holistic dentist Dr. Dirk Jacobsen at the Dental Pod today on 6234 5114.
Because it’s time to think differently about your dental health…