Mouth cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, roof and floor of the mouth, jaws, salivary glands and throat. It is more common in people over 40, particularly men, but it can affect anyone and is becoming more common in younger people.
What causes mouth cancer?
The majority of mouth cancer cases can be linked to lifestyle - most commonly tobacco or drinking alcohol to excess. People who both regularly drink to excess and use tobacco increase their risk by 30 times. Chewing tobacco, betel quid, gutka and paan is just as dangerous, if not more so, than smoking.
Mouth cancer has also been linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV) which can be spread through oral sex.
The symptoms of mouth cancer can include:
A mouth ulcer that doesn’t heal within three weeks
Red or white patches in the mouth or throat
Unusual lumps or swellings
Pain or difficulty swallowing
Teeth that become loose for no obvious reason
Bleeding or numbness within the mouth
Changes in the voice
Reducing your risk of mouth cancer
Take good care of your teeth and gums every day, and follow the advice your dental team give you
Attend regular dental appointments and let your dentist know about any changes in your mouth
Cut down or quit tobacco use, and only drink alcohol in moderation
Multiple sexual partners may increase your risk of being exposed to the human papilloma virus (HPV), which has been linked to mouth cancer
Use a sun-protecting balm/sunscreen on your lips. A diet rich in vitamins A, C and E can also provide protection against the risk of mouth cancer, along with plenty of fruit and vegetables
Denplan is the main sponsor of Mouth Cancer Action Month and we’re proud to be supporting the cause through our #BlueLipSelfie campaign. We’re aiming to raise awareness of mouth cancer using a visible sign of support.
Mouth Cancer Action Month is organised by the Oral Health Foundation and takes place each year throughout November.
Watch our video to learn more about mouth cancer and the personal stories of people affected by it, and how early action from their dentist saved their lives
What happens during a mouth cancer check?
A mouth cancer check at your dental practice is quick and painless. You can take a look at what happens during a typical mouth cancer check in our video
Denplan, part of Simplyhealth, is the UK's leading dental payment plan provider. We've been helping patients budget for their private dental care for nearly 30 years, and our member dentists now provide care to approximately 1.7 million patients. Our plans offer an easy way to spread the cost of your routine treatment into affordable monthly payments, reducing the worry of unexpected dental bills.
We support regular attendance and preventive care, helping patients to keep their teeth and gums healthy for life.