Unusual activity in the form of persistent sores, discoloration or lumps in the mouth can be indicators of serious medical conditions requiring prompt diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. You should always visit your Dentist to determine the cause of these uncomfortable or unusual states. Your Dentist may perform some diagnostic tests and may refer you to a Dental Specialist for further management.
Oral cancers are cancers that develop within the mouth or throat. Studies showed that in 2005 there were an estimated 3,200 new cases of oral cancers in Canada. Early detection is a key factor in preventing the advancement diseases. Dentists and Dental Specialists are trained to look for signs of oral cancers and they use several detection methods including swabs, biopsy and other tests to diagnose cancer in the mouth.
Signs of oral cancers can include:
Sores that bleed easily or do not heal
Colour change of the oral tissues
A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
A change in the way the teeth fit together
People over 40 years of age have a higher risk of developing oral cancer
Many systemic conditions, such as vitamin difficiency, gastrointestinal disease (Crohns or Colitis), Diabetes and autoimmune disease present with associated oral signs and symptoms.
Smoking, chewing tobacco and high alcohol consumption increase susceptibility to developing oral cancer.