As we at your Epping Dentist are aware, people tend to think of oral cancer as a disease of older people – particularly men who have smoked tobacco and consumed alcohol heavily throughout their lives. As a result, if you do not fit that profile, you probably aren’t overly concerned about developing oral cancer yourself.
However, we have to let you know something of concern. A new and unexpected trend has started that is not understood yet. Over the past 30 years, women under the age of 45 are increasingly subject to cancers of the tongue.
According to the Cancer Council, there are other, less significant, causes of oral cancer as well as smoking and drinking. They include the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), a family history of mouth cancers, poor oral hygiene and gum disease, sun exposure and chewing the seed of the areca palm tree (known as areca or betel nut). However, the increased incidence in younger women does not appear to be related to smoking or HPV.
This is certainly a worrying trend for a whole new group of people. If you are in this group, you will, of course, be guided by the causes listed above as well as minimizing your alcohol intake and continuing to avoid smoking. Even so, we recommend you take notice of any oral cancer symptoms – early detection is best for your long-term health.
These are the symptoms the Cancer Council says to be on the lookout for the following: a lump in your neck, loose teeth, swelling or a sore on your lip that won’t heal, difficult or painful swallowing, changes in your speech, bleeding or numbness in your mouth, white or red patches on your mouth, tongue or gums and unexplained weight loss.
Coming to see us at your Epping Dentist for regular dental checkups is a good idea too. We are uniquely positioned to comprehensively examine you for oral cancer and your oral health in general. If we discovered anything suspicious, we would refer you to the appropriate specialist for further examination.
The other obvious thing you can do is to be thorough with your daily tooth brushing and flossing so your dental hygiene is tip top.
Please tell the young women in your family about this! Then they can take the appropriate steps to avoid or minimise oral cancer, and, if necessary, deal with and incident quickly and appropriately. Your Epping Dentist wants the best of oral health for you and all your family.
To find out more, please click the link for an appointment for a consultation: