Mucosal Problems and Oral Cancer
The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance is not normal and could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs of abnormality and should be checked.
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- A sore or ulcer that fails to heal after 10 days and/or bleeds easily.
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness. Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
If you are at all concerned about an abnormality in your mouth then please see your dentist promptly or make and appointment with Wayne. In New Zealand oral cancer is as common as cervical cancer, detecting oral cancer early can be life saving.