Signs of oral cancer to look out for during brushing

When it comes to oral hygiene, most people will be able to spot when there is an issue with one of their teeth or their gums.

But, it is a common oversight across many dental patients to keep their eyes open for signs of oral cancer. After all, what exactly should someone be looking for?

Unlike other types of cancer, oral cancer is not often spoken about in the media and, as it is in your mouth, it can be a lot tougher to spot by yourself. When you attend your dentist St John’s Wood for biannual check-ups, they will perform an oral cancer screening as part of the assessment. But what should you keep an eye out for at home?

Here, 5 of the most common signs of oral cancer are highlighted, helping you to stay healthy.

 

Growths

Okay, so growths anywhere on the body are likely to attract attention.

And, in the mouth, they can visually be hard to spot but, should you feel a growth with your tongue or when brushing, it may be time to book a dental checkup.

Remember, an oral growth doesn’t have to hurt to signify cancer.

 

Ulcers

Most people will experience an ulcer or cluster of ulcers in their mouths at one time or another. In most cases, they are simply a sign that something is at amiss with your hygiene or your body, such as stress.

However, if you notice that you are continually suffering from ulcers in the same spot or one of your ulcers has grown larger than a 5 pence coin, it is time to contact your dental team. Don’t worry! In most cases, such ulcers are benign but, as the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry!

 

Swallowing issues

Once again, in most cases, if you are having issues with swallowing or even chewing, this does not instantly point towards cancer. You may have something as simple as a sore throat!

But, if these issues persist, or you notice a problem when you attempt to move your tongue, it is best to seek the assistance of a dental health professional.

 

Hoarseness

An often overlooked symptom of a potential issue with your mouth or throat is your voice. Do you constantly sound hoarse? Are you having to clear your throat regularly which doesn’t seem to resolve the problem with your voice?

If this persists for 2 weeks or longer, seek medical attention, especially if you have a persistent cough or are having to continually clear your throat.

 

Weight loss

Studies have found that before being diagnosed with oral cancer, over 40% of people reported having unexplained or unintentional weight loss.

And, while this can seem like a good thing for many, it is always worth seeking medical advice should you notice it. Weight loss concerning cancer is due to wasting (a combination of fat and muscle loss) as the body attempts to fight the cancer. So, if the pounds are dropping off and you aren’t meaning them to, it may be time for a full MOT with your medical team.

 

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