Individuals hoping to limit their risk of developing dangerous illnesses by leading a healthy lifestyle should take action to prevent the onset of the potentially fatal disease mouth cancer.
Pearl Dental Clinic practitioners conduct routine checks for the disease during all kinds of treatment and it is recommended that patients undergo these tests on a regular basis to prevent mouth cancer from developing.
While it is more effective to attend a dental examination appointment with a professional to check for signs of the illness, there are a number of telltale signs individuals should look out for when carrying out their daily oral hygiene routines.
Mouth cancer is caused by an uncontrolled growth of cells in the mouth and can start in any area including the lips, tongue, gums, inside of the cheek, roof of the mouth and the area behind the wisdom teeth.
The risk of contracting the illness is most commonly caused as a result of tobacco intake through cigarettes, cigars and pipes, as well as chewing tobacco and exposure to the sun or UV light.
High alcohol intake and a weakened immune system are also causes of the illness, which can often go undetected if patients do not seek action when they notice changes to the appearance or feel of their mouths.
While high numbers of sufferers do not experience any symptoms, patients are advised to look out for an ulcer in the mouth that will not heal, bad breath, constant pain, red patches in the mouth, or a feeling of numbness.
In addition, further common symptoms include a lump on the lip, tongue or in the neck, as well as unexplained bleeding or loose teeth. Should patients experience one or more of these problems, they should contact a doctor immediately.
According to Cancer Research UK, smoking cessation is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of oral cancer, with a 50 per cent decrease within three to five years for those who quit.
Patients who are diagnosed with mouth cancer in its earlier states are more likely to recover than those who are not, making routine check-ups with a Pearl Dental Clinic practitioner necessary in preventing the worsening of symptoms.
During the check-up, a small mirror may be used to examine hard-to-reach areas of the mouth, while a special instrument called a laryngoscope could be utilized to look inside the throat.
Biopsies can also be carried out to check for mouth cancer, during which a sample of cells or tissue is removed and sent to a laboratory for further diagnosis.
There are a number of steps individuals can take in order to reduce the risk of them developing mouth cancer, including the limitation of alcohol and tobacco intake. In addition, consuming a nutritious diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables can be effective in improving oral health and overall wellbeing.