Cancer of the mouth and upper throat is more common than you might realize. Oral cancer is more common in men and affects around 1 out of every 60 men, and the average age at diagnosis is 64. The five-year survival rates in people with oral cancer are not high at 40%, but early detection is key to beating cancer of the mouth and upper throat. Hiring a personal care at home provider can help you ensure your dad is checking his mouth regularly and keeping up with his oral care.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a form of cancer where cancerous cells grow in the oral cavity or upper throat. Most are squamous cell cancers, but the virus HPV can also cause oral cancer. Verrucous carcinoma is another type, but it’s rare and doesn’t often spread to other areas of the body.
Cancer on the tonsils or under the tongue can be lymphoma. There are also salivary gland cancers. A scraping of cells on an unusual area or patch is the typical way oral cancer is diagnosed. To find oral cancer, a close inspection of the mouth is needed. That’s why regular dental appointments are essential.
What Should Your Dad Be Doing?
Your dad needs to brush his teeth twice a day. Ideally, he should brush an hour before or after a meal to avoid damage to his enamel. Once a day, he should floss his teeth. Before bed is a good time for flossing. If your dad has a water flosser, he can use the water flosser in the morning and regular floss at night.
A fluoride mouthwash helps strengthen his enamel. Make sure the mouthwash he chooses doesn’t have alcohol in it. If his dentist has diagnosed him with weak enamel or gum disease, he may need prescription products. Use whatever is recommended.
Make Sure He Sees His Dentist Twice a Year
Routine oral care at your dad’s dental office is important. His dentist and dental hygienist have x-rays to rely on and mirror tools they can use to view hard-to-reach areas like the upper throat. Catching cancer early is important.
If something concerning is noticed, a scraping of the cells helps determine if it is cancer or something benign. Not all bumps, sores, and patches are cancerous. It could be a scrape from a harder food or a reaction to a new mouthwash.
Arrange Personal Care at Home for Oral Care
Schedule personal care at home to help your dad brush and floss her teeth. If he has sores on the inside of her lip, cheeks, tongue, or throat, his caregiver will notice and alert you. His caregiver can schedule an appointment with his dentist or doctor to have any sores examined.