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    Parramatta Clinic

    Parramatta Dental Clinic

    The Hall, 356 Church Street
    (Corner of Church and Palmer St)
    Parramatta, NSW, 2150

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    Maroubra Dental Clinic

    Office 1, 822 Anzac Parade
    Maroubra, NSW, 2035

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Dentist Journal

Oral Cancer Awareness Early Detection and Prevention

Oral Cancer Awareness: Early Detection and Prevention

Numerous types of cancer can impact humans, each often targeting distinct areas of the body. Oral cancer specifically affects the mouth. While the incidence of oral cancer in Australia is comparatively lower than some other forms of cancer, it remains a significant concern for many individuals. In this article, we’ll learn more about oral cancer and how early detection minimises your risk.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is also known as mouth cancer, and the term can be used to describe a number of different cancers that form inside your mouth cavity. These cancers can affect the lips, gums, tongue, tonsils, salivary glands, inside the cheek or even on the roof or floor of the mouth. When looking at statistics, mouth cancer falls into the ‘head and neck cancer’ category, and it is estimated that around 700 Australians are diagnosed yearly.

Major risk factors for oral cancer

The two main causes of oral cancer are alcohol and tobacco consumption. Essentially, people who smoke tobacco products and drink excessively are far more at risk of developing a form of mouth cancer. Other factors include:

  • HPV virus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Gum disease
  • Exposure to the sun (mostly your lips)
  • A family history of mouth cancers

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

How do you know if you might have oral cancer? There are some warning signs to watch out for, including:

  • A lump in your neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech changes
  • Loose teeth
  • Sores that won’t heal
  • Weight loss
  • White or red patches inside your mouth
  • Bleeding in the mouth

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult a medical professional.

The importance of early detection

Like any sickness, the sooner you identify oral cancer, the better your chances are of recovery. Doctors perform staging for oral cancer to determine the best course of treatment, which could be radiation, chemotherapy, or surgical removal. Visiting your dentist regularly for checkups gives you a much greater chance of catching your illness early and taking action before the issue spreads or worsens.  

Tips on how to prevent oral cancer

Looking after your oral health is the key to avoiding oral cancer. While some people may have a family history of oral cancer, there are still several prevention strategies available. Lifestyle changes are often the most important, as well as regularly seeing your dentist. Here are just some of the ways to minimise your risk of developing oral cancer.

  • Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products increases your risk of cancer and should, therefore, be avoided. If you have difficulty quitting smoking, your GP can help with a range of quitting strategies.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is always good for your oral health and can reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. Naturally, a good diet has a number of other health benefits, too. Importantly, avoid sugary drinks.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption: Along with tobacco, alcohol is one of the major risks associated with oral cancer. Reduce your consumption today and lower your risk.
  • Protecting your lips: Keep those UV rays away from your lips by keeping them out of the sun. Always wear a hat that offers sun protection and use lip balm with UV protection.
  • Regular dental checkups: Visiting your dentist regularly is often your best defence against oral cancer. Firstly, your dentist offers great education on how to prevent oral cancer. But regular examinations also help to identify early warning signs. By catching issues early, you can prevent them from becoming more serious.

While there is no definitive way to 100% protect yourself from oral cancer, the prevention strategies above will help to lower your risk.

Looking for a dentist in Parramatta?

Dental Avenue in Parramatta is your trusted family dental clinic. We specialise in all types of general and cosmetic dentistry, offering a safe and welcoming environment for the whole family. Maintaining good dental health is one of the best ways to avoid oral cancer. Regular checkups can help to identify early warning signs so you can take appropriate action. Contact our friendly team to make a booking today.

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