A better Medway

Mouth Cancer Action Month

November is Mouth Cancer Action Month. Mouth cancer kills more people each year than cervical and testicular cancer combined. 

Treating mouth cancer successfully depends on early diagnosis.  

If mouth cancer is caught early, the chances of surviving are 9 out of 10.

You should never ignore any of the following signs and symptoms: 

  • mouth ulcers which do not heal in three weeks
  • red and white patches in the mouth or on the tongue
  • unusual lumps or swellings anywhere in the mouth or head and neck area
  • changes in your voice, such as a husky voice or difficulties swallowing which persists for more than six weeks

You can check for these symptoms at home.  Feel your neck and face for lumps and swellings.

If you notice anything that you’re concerned about, book an appointment with your dentist or GP.

Visit the dentist

You can also maintain good oral health by visiting the dentist.

It’s free for children aged under 18 or for children in full time education, aged under 19.

Pregnant women and mothers with a child 12 months or younger receive free NHS dental treatment. 

If you have not had a dental check in the last six months, make an appointment with your local practice. Go to the dentist regularly or as often as your dentist advises.

Top tips for looking after your teeth:

  • have less food and drinks with added sugar and avoid sugary food and drink between meals and before bed. Learn more about lowering your sugar intake and sugar swaps
  • clean your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, once before bed and usually once in the morning. Help children under 8 brush their teeth
  • always spit out your toothpaste. Do not rinse after brushing as this washes away the fluoride you need to help protect your teeth
  • use the right type of toothbrush. The best type of toothbrush is one with a small head and medium-textured bristles and can be manual or electric
  • replace your toothbrush or brush head at least every 3 months or when the bristles are worn or frayed. Damaged bristles will not keep your teeth and gums fully clean
  • clean between your teeth using interdental brushes or dental floss if you're an adult