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‘Saving lives through early detection and prevention of mouth cancer.’

This is what the month of July and Mouth Cancer Action is all about.

At the Oral Health Foundation, we believe that by helping others increase their knowledge of mouth cancer, we can reduce the number of people affected by the disease.

Our aim is for more people to be mouthaware. This means to know the risk factors linked to mouth cancer, the signs and symptoms, and where to go if anything out of the ordinary is found.

These are our key messages on how you can lower your risk of mouth cancer and how to spot it early.

Preventing mouth cancer

  • Tobacco and excess alcohol consumption are two of the biggest risk factors of mouth cancer. To lower your risk, quit smoking or consuming smokeless tobacco and stay within the recommended weekly alcohol limit of 14 units.
  • HPV (the human papillomavirus) is predicted to become the leading cause of mouth cancer in the coming years. It is transmitted through oral sex. By limiting your number of partners and practising safe sex, you can help lower your risk of mouth cancer.
  • Sun exposure can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer. Use a good protective sun cream, and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips.
  • A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E provides protection against the development of mouth cancer. Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body protect itself from most cancers.

Catching mouth cancer early

  • Keep an eye out for any changes in your mouth when you brush your teeth. The most common signs to look out for are:
    • Mouth ulcers which do not heal in three weeks.
    • Red and white patches in the mouth.
    • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area.

If you notice any of these warning signs, contact your dentist or doctor immediately.

Mouth cancer can strike in a number of places including the lips, tongue, gums and cheeks. Take action if you notice any unusual changes in these areas.

Regular visits to the dentist are crucial, especially if you smoke or drink. They can see spaces in your mouth easier than you can and may spot a problem before you notice it.

A great way to show your support for the Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign is to use your social media platforms to share these important messages.

It is quick, easy and has the potential to be seen by thousands of people, many of whom will not know much about mouth cancer.