This is obviously the scary one to talk about but oral cancer is a growing problem. This article will outline the possible causes and what to look out for.
The most well known cause of oral cancer is smoking. Tobacco contains ‘carcinogens’ that can cause cancer in your mouth as well as other obvious places like your lungs.
Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of oral cancer. When you combine the habits of smoking and drinking alcohol then they work together to be an even bigger risk.
Infections from viruses are an increasing cause of mouth cancer, particularly in young men. Human Papilloma virus can be transferred by sex and oral sex. This virus will often exist in people and give them no issues. But it can also be a cause of cancer in your mouth. For a hundred reasons along with the risk of mouth cancer, you should obviously practise safe sex.
When you go on holiday, you won’t get a lot of sun on your gums. You will, however, get a lot of sun to your face. Sun light can damage the skin around your mouth and lead to skin cancer. So remember to get out the factor 50 and slap it on.
What to look for
Those are the main causes. So what should you be looking out for with mouth cancer? What are the signs? It’s important not to panic about any lump or bump in your mouth because there are tones of reasons that can cause little growths or swellings that are not cancer.
A lump in your mouth could be an infection or a salivary gland that has got overexcited. Or there may just be a natural little bump or lump that is perfectly normal. If there is something new in your mouth, it’s probably not cancer. You should still get it checked by your dentist as soon as you can
Things to look out for are persistent swellings that won’t go away. Ulcers that are not healing or are getting bigger. Teeth that start to get wobbly very quickly if you’ve never had gum disease. Lumps that are hard, solid and fixed in one place. Anything like this and you need to seek advice from your dentist as soon as you can.
If you have any concerns, don’t ignore them. Get advice from your dentist and they will be able to help.
Mouth cancer can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Often, it will be a combination of the three.
You will probably have a pretty good idea of how your mouth looks and feels normally. The key is to seek advice when you have concerns. Don’t leave things because it will play on your mind and you may just be watching a problem get worse. As I mentioned earlier, there are loads of reasons for lumps and bumps in your mouth that are not cancer. You could write a whole book on the subject. If you are worried about anything, please ask your dentist.