Dentist warns how your wobbly teeth could be a sign of mouth cancer – as cases climb by 40%

Cases of mouth cancer are on the rise in the UK, with a 40 percent increase in the number of deaths in the last 10 years.

Mouth cancer affects more men than it does women, with almost twice as many men being diagnosed with the disease each year.

Survival rates for mouth cancer have barely improved over the past 20 years because patients are usually diagnosed too late.

However, early diagnosis and treatment can boost your chance of survival from 50 to 90 percent.

With cases on the rise, a dentist has shared some of the early warning signs to look out for.

Doctor Parneet Sehmi, principal dentist at Hermes London Dental Clinic, said: “Mouth cancer can have a devastating impact on people’s lives.

“With cases of mouth cancer alarmingly on the rise, it is important that people become more aware and alert to symptoms.

“Hopefully, with more people aware, we can do more to increase the chances of people catching the disease during an earlier stage.

“Early-stage mouth cancer symptoms can be subtle and painless, making it much harder to detect.

“It is also important to factor in the main risk factors that are a result of lifestyle choices, so that people have an informed awareness.”

Symptoms of mouth cancer
Mouth cancer can target different areas of the mouth, including the tongue, lips, gums, palate, salivary glands and inside of the cheeks.

However, one lesser-known sign of the disease is loose teeth, warns Doctor Sehmi.

Other common symptoms include:

  • A sore on the lip/mouth which doesn’t heal
  • Pain or discomfort inside the mouth
  • Pain or discomfort in the ear
  • A growth inside the mouth
  • Difficulty or discomfort when swallowing
  • A white or red patch on the inside of the mouth
  • Persistent hoarseness.

“It can take less than a minute to check your whole mouth, including the tongue, as well as the roof and floor of your mouth, gums and lips,” the doctor added.

“Pay particular attention to the tongue, as one in three mouth cancers are found there.

“If you have any sores, lumps, or long-term ulcers in your mouth, no matter how small, it is very important that you book an appointment with your dentist to have it looked at.”

Risk factors
What’s more, around 90 percent of mouth cancers can be linked to preventable lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.

Doctor Sehmi explained: “Shockingly, recent statistics have found that awareness of the major risk factors relating to mouth cancer is as low as nine percent in UK adults.

“With cases skyrocketing in the UK, it is really important that more is done to help increase people’s awareness of not only the signs, but also the risk factors which can lead to mouth cancer.”

Smoking
Smoking has been known to cause at least 15 types of cancer, with around two in every three mouth cancers linked to smoking.

Regular smokers are advised to visit their dentists for a mouth cancer screening on a more regular basis, and to read more on smoking cessation.

Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to 30 percent of all mouth cancers, meaning people who drink regularly face a greater risk.

Smoking and drinking together can further increase the risk of mouth cancer, which is why it is recommended that people be careful of how much alcohol they are consuming.

Diet
Doctor Sehmi commented: “Around a third of mouth cancers are linked to an unhealthy diet that has an insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals.

“Having a healthy, balanced diet is not only important for a person’s overall health, but it is also extremely important for a person’s oral health.”