The best way to protect against mouth cancer is to have a healthy lifestyle. In particular, because alcohol helps tobacco to get absorbed into the tissues of your mouth, don't smoke or drink to excess - if you do, you're up to 30 times more likely to develop oral problems. For more information and support, click here.
We routinely screen for abnormalities in your mouth every time you come for a examination. But if you notice an ulcer or white/red patch which does not clear up after three weeks, please do go and see your GP.
If you're diagnosed with any kind of cancer, the illness and its treatment may affect your teeth and gums. Side effects of treatment can include: taste changes, dry mouth, pain, mouth sores, infections, tooth decay, gum disease, and inflammation of the mucous membranes in your mouth. It's very important that you let us know if you have any of these symptoms.
But also, your dental care is a vital element of your overall cancer care - we are a part of your treatment team. So be sure to update your medical history with us to include details of your cancer diagnosis and treatments being provided and planned, so that we can particularly guard against increased decay and gum disease which may develop because of changes to your mouth structure, your gums, teeth or saliva.
It will help to provide us with the name and contact details of your oncologist - we'll always check with you before we contact him or her about your care. Plus, tell your oncologist about your dental history, and give him or her our details so that they can consult with us at any stage. And once your cancer treatment has started, if you have pain in your mouth, teeth or jaw - or any other symptoms of possible dental problems - immediately tell your oncologist as well as telling us.