Thursday, 21 Sep 2023

Three red flag signs of cancer that can strike in your mouth, dentist shares

Mouth cancer: What are the causes and symptoms?

Cancer symptoms are often reluctant to rear their ugly heads, and when they do, they don’t often strike in areas you wouldn’t expect.

However, identifying red flags promptly can buy precious time to intervene and possibly improve your prognosis.

One surprising area that could ring alarm bells is your mouth, according to Bupa Dental Care dentist Neil Sikka.

Your oral health is a window to your overall health, a dentist has warned, and cancer is just one of the conditions that can be detected.

“A study has shown that poor oral health is linked to a 75 percent increase in liver cancer risk, so it’s important to understand how certain symptoms reveal signs of overall health problems,” Sikka said.

READ MORE Student’s ‘red, raw and painful’ tongue ulcers turned out to be cancer

1.Mouth ulcers 

The painful patches or lumps found inside of your mouth can be a warning sign of various oral conditions or wider health problems.

From dentures to vitamin deficiencies, there are many triggers for the common problem.

However, if your ulcers are persistent, they could be a sign of something more sinister.

Sikka said: “Ulcers that haven’t healed after two weeks need to be checked, as this could be a sign of something more serious such as mouth cancer.”

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2.Red patches

Red patches, also known as erythroplakia, that strike particularly on the tongue or inner lining of the mouth could be another red flag. 

Tell-tale signs of erythroplakia include bleeding when scraped and they cannot be rubbed away.

While these colourful patches can be “perfectly normal”, they can also point to precancerous conditions, according to the expert.

3.Ammonia-like breath

The last warning sign on the dentist’s list can’t be seen but it can be smelt.

The expert said: “Breath that smells like ammonia or urine can be associated with kidney or liver problems. 

“Poor oral health is linked to a rise in liver cancer – and when the liver is affected by disease, its function will steadily decline.”

If you suffer from any of the symptoms described above, the expert recommended seeing your dentist.

The medical professional will be able to “shed light on possible explanations” and rule out any serious problems.

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