Your Smile Matters: Mouth Cancer Action Month
November marks the beginning of a crucial campaign dedicated to raising awareness about mouth cancer. Supported by the Mouth Cancer Foundation and the Oral Health Foundation, Mouth Cancer Action Month addresses the global issue of mouth cancer, which sadly affects approximately 650,000 people each year (Source: Mouth Cancer Foundation).
Surprisingly, despite the fact that ‘almost nine-in-ten (88%) of UK adults have now heard of mouth cancer,’ there exists a critical gap in knowledge regarding its signs, symptoms and risk factors (Source: DentalHealth). Many people lack clarity on what to watch for when it comes to this disease, which is even more concerning given the number of people who skip routine dental check-ups.
At TBDP, our dedicated team of specialist dentists is committed to shedding light on this critical issue. We stand ready to support you if you happen to notice any lesions or abnormalities in your mouth. Moreover, we have recently introduced private oral biopsies in Bristol, ensuring significantly reduced waiting times and swifter results for our patients compared to the often lengthy hospital waiting lists. Detecting mouth cancer early significantly increases our ability to provide successful treatment and ensure your well-being.
In this blog post, we will explore the significance of safeguarding your smile and overall oral well-being. We will also discuss the symptoms and warning signs of mouth cancer that you should watch out for. Moreover, we will outline the simple steps on how to book a biopsy at our practice if any concerns arise. Our team will stand by you throughout your journey, working closely to ensure you receive a timely diagnosis and treatment to save your smile and, most importantly, your health.
Mouth Cancer: The Stats
Both the Mouth Cancer Foundation and Oral Health Foundation have shared alarming statistics on mouth cancer, and the implications are deeply concerning. In the UK, mouth cancer now claims more lives annually than road traffic accidents (Source: Mouth Cancer Foundation).
In the past year, there were 8,846 new cases of mouth cancer in the UK, reflecting a 34% increase over the past decade and a staggering 103% surge when compared to data from two decades ago (Source: Oral Health Foundation).
Of greatest concern, the 5-year survival rate has seen minimal improvement over recent decades, primarily due to delayed detection. Early detection, as we understand, is critical in enhancing the prospects of successful treatment.
How Can You Ensure the Early Detection of Mouth Cancer?
Early detection relies on vigilant monitoring of your oral health. This underscores the significance of attending your routine dental checkups. During these visits, your dentist can identify any unusual developments or lesions and detect the initial signs of cancer. Unfortunately, most people visit their dentist too late once symptoms have already progressed, reducing the chances of a successful cure.
If your fear of the dentist prevents you from seeking regular care, we can offer sedation therapy to help make you feel more relaxed and comfortable in the dentist’s chair, ensuring you never miss these vital checkups.
You should also perform regular self-examinations at home. But what exactly should you be on the lookout for?
Take a close look at your lips, mouth and throat, and pay special attention to any lesions or signs of irregularity, such as:
- Sores that bleed
- Gum ulcers that persist for more than three weeks
- Unusual discolouration or swelling of the gums
- Unexplained lumps inside the mouth
- Persistent sore throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
Stay Healthy: Your Smile Matters
Prioritising your oral health plays a crucial role in minimising the risk of mouth cancer.
We recommend quitting smoking and moderating alcohol consumption. Additionally, make it a habit to attend regular check-ups with your dental team for ongoing monitoring.
If you’re finding it challenging to kick the smoking habit, don’t hesitate to have a conversation with your dentist. We’re here to support you on your path to a healthier smile.
Oral Surgery at The Bristol Dental Practice
If you have any concerns about your oral health or if your dentist has suggested that you schedule an oral biopsy in Bristol, we invite you to book an appointment at our practice. We make it a priority to provide consultations within a matter of weeks, and in many cases, the biopsy can be performed on the same day. Once the laboratory processes the biopsy, you can expect to receive results within 1-2 weeks, allowing us to initiate your treatment promptly. This streamlined service offers a significant advantage over hospital waiting times, which can stretch for several months, if not longer.
For a more in-depth understanding of what to expect during oral biopsies at our Bristol practice, please read our latest blog post, ‘Why Would My Dentist Recommend an Oral Biopsy?’
Our Oral Surgeons, Dr Joel Thomas and Dr Bosun Hong, bring extensive experience from their work in both hospital and practice settings. Joel spent two years in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Departments in Worcester and Bristol before joining our team at TBDP. Bosun’s expertise gained as an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow equips her to offer a broad spectrum of oral surgery treatments, from biopsies to sinus lifts. Both Joel and Bosun are committed to providing a compassionate and reassuring experience during what can be a very scary and unsettling time for our patients.
For those who find dental procedures challenging, we provide sedation options. Furthermore, we welcome referrals from both patients and dentists if you wish to have your biopsy performed at our practice. Contact our practice today at 0117 405 5146 for more information, or book your consultation online.
Mouth Cancer Action Month serves as a timely reminder of the significance of early detection when it comes to oral cancer. It is a month dedicated to raising awareness, sharing the facts and promoting the importance of regular dental check-ups and self-examinations in preventing and detecting mouth cancer.
At TBDP, we’re dedicated to providing a fast-track service for oral biopsies in Bristol, ensuring you receive the treatment you need without unnecessary delays. Our experienced oral surgeons, Dr Joel Thomas and Dr Bosun Hong, bring both expertise and empathy to the table, offering a comforting hand during this unnerving time. And for those who may find dental treatments daunting, sedation is available to make the process more comfortable.
Learn more about Mouth Cancer Action Month: https://www.mouthcancerfoundation.org/mouth-cancer-action-month/