Mouth cancer can develop in anyone of any gender and age, although it tends to affect men aged 50 to 74 more.
Mouth cancer symptoms include mouth ulcers that won’t heal, lumps in the mouth or neck, loosening of the teeth, numbness in the lips or tongue, red or white patches anywhere in the mouth, or changes to your speech.
Your dentist will begin with a visual exam. They will carefully inspect your tongue, gums, inside the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, and the entryway to your throat, checking for any abnormalities. The dentist will also physically examine your mouth, head, and neck for any suspicious lumps or bumps.
Your dentist may use a special blue dye to check for abnormal cells. The patient rinses their mouth with the dye like a mouthwash, before spitting it out. The dentist then checks for any abnormal cells that have absorbed the dye.
Finally, the dentist will examine your mouth with a bright light. Abnormal and unhealthy tissue will appear to glow white underneath this light.
If your dentist notices any abnormalities, further testing may be necessary. They may schedule future appointments to monitor the area. Alternatively, your dentist may send you to a specialist.
Mouth cancers are usually curable if caught relatively early. For this reason, it is crucial we monitor our most at-risk patients for symptoms of the disease.
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