This might be a scary one folks and the last thing we want to do is scare you. However, from time to time we’ve all seen something “strange” while brushing our teeth and we’re not just talking about some leftover spinach from your dinner last night! Therefore, we thought it might be a good day to talk about what to do when you see something of concern in your mouth.
The short and simple version of this blog would be: See your Dentist! If you ever have a concern about something going on with your teeth, mouth, tongue or gums, the best strategy of course is to book an appointment with your Dentist. That said it wouldn’t be a blog if we didn’t talk a little bit about what “it” is that you should potentially be worried about. The following list identifies just a few of the things you might want to keep an eye on:
- Ongoing pain in the mouth that won’t go away.
- A sore that won’t heal. It might look like a canker or mouth ulcer.
- A white or red patch on the mouth, lip, gums or tongue that doesn’t fade.
- Sore throat or a feeling of something stuck in the throat.
- Jaw pain or an inability to move the jaw easily.
- Otherwise unexplained weight loss.
Mouth cancers unfortunately, often go undiagnosed until in the later stages and/or because they have metastasized elsewhere. This is perhaps because people tend not to aggressively “look” for issues in the mouth or because patients assume an issue is minor in nature, like a simple canker sore, and don’t visit a Dentist to have it checked out. Some higher risk patients, such as smokers, might tend to visit the Dentist less often. Men are at a significantly higher risk for any type of mouth cancer, as are heavy smokers. However, there is an increasing prevalence of the disease presenting after (and possibly as a result of) some forms of HPV infection. People over 40 are at a higher risk overall, as are heavy drinkers.
As the previous paragraph might suggest, there are a number of risk factors related to oral cancers. Most experts agree that living a healthier lifestyle that includes eating fresh fruits and vegetables, moderate or little use of alcohol and that not smoking will certainly help decrease the odds of developing any form of oral cancer. As well, it is generally thought that survival rates would improve with regular access to dental care so scheduling regular 6 month checkups with your family Dentist is also an excellent idea. Finally, as we said at the onset of this blog, ALWAYS make an appointment with your Dentist whenever you have a concern about something you are seeing or feeling in your mouth. We are never too busy to work together with our patients to help manage overall health! The team here at the Brampton Brinkley Dental office invite you to make an appointment to visit us whether it’s for the first time or the fiftieth! In the meantime, “don’t forget to be a BFFwith your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”
*with various sources….