THE risk of getting mouth cancer is 40 times higher if a person drinks and smokes.
Some 300 cases of mouth and pharynx cancer are detected in Ireland each year, leading to 100 deaths.
Dr Conor McAlister from the Irish Dental Association stressed the importance of availing of a free oral check under the medial card or PRSI system to help pick up cancer.
Symptoms of mouth cancer may include a sore or ulcer in the mouth that does not heal within three weeks, white or red patches inside the mouth, a lump in the mouth or next to it, or persistent sore throat or hoarseness.
Unexplained looseness of teeth, or sockets that don’t heal after extractions, can be another sign.
Visit a dentist regularly even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol.
When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth or neck.
Visit dentist.ie or mouthcancerawareness.ie for further information.