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  • Writer's pictureSheen Dental

Check-ups aren’t just for teeth

When you come to your dentist in Richmond for a check-up, we aren’t just making sure you don’t have gum disease and tooth decay, we are also carrying out a thorough check for signs of cancer.

Worldwide, mouth cancer is now the sixth most common form of the disease. Although, it has been much less common in the UK, Cancer Research UK reports that over the last decade, death rates from oral cancer have risen by 21%. Both men and women are equally affected by this increase. As if that wasn’t worrying enough, UK death rates are projected to rise by 38% between 2014 and 2035, to seven deaths per 100,000 people by 2035.

Dentist in Richmond

At Sheen Dental, your dentist in Richmond, we are experienced in detecting the early indicators of mouth cancer, and use your six-monthly dental check-ups to check for the signs.

We tend to check for early signs of cancer after we have checked each of your teeth for decay, and for evidence of gum disease. We will also take a good look at the soft tissues in your mouth. Tumours tend to appear on theinsides of people’s cheeks, the roof of the mouth (palate), or the lips or gums. It is also possible, but less likely, that tumours could develop in the saliva glands, tonsils, or pharynx (the part of the throat that connects your windpipe to your mouth).

What to look for

Tumours are experienced as:

  • painful mouth ulcers that don’t heal

  • lumps that refuse to go away

  • lumps in the neck

  • loose teeth, or sockets that don’t heal after tooth removal

  • numb or odd-feeling lips or tongue

  • red or white patches

  • changes in speech, such as a lisp.

Drinkers and smokers are more likely to be affected by mouth cancer. This may explain why more men get mouth cancer than women, and why it is more prevalent in people over 50 and younger than 74.

The reason your Richmond dentist checks for mouth cancer is that, if it is caught early, it can often be cured with relatively minor surgery. So, don’t delay, book that check-up today.


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