Cancer is one of those diseases which can occur in a variety of places. If you discover you have a cancer in your mouth, a number of issues come into play.

The first thing to understand is that no two people or cancer situations are the same and so any advice given here may not apply in full to your condition.

The second thing to know is that many people recover from cancer of the mouth and go on to live a normal [well almost] and productive life. I say ‘well almost’ because in many cancers of the tongue for example, tooth extraction often takes place.

The reason for this is primarily because radiation needs as few obstacles as possible in seeking out the tumor and destroying it. As you will have seen from ancient skeletons, the teeth are extremely durable and also very strong. Extracting the teeth gives the radiation a far better chance of homing in on its target and, in addition, will not be bounced around off a tooth or teeth and onto such things as the salivary glands.

It’s true that one possible consequence of defeating your cancer of the mouth is that you may well require the removal of some of your teeth and therefore the use of dentures. But you are not entering unknown territory here. You must know that teeth are extracted in their millions every day and people have been wearing dentures successfully for ages.

Dentures or false teeth can be made solid by attaching them to your jaw but sometimes radiation may weaken a jaw and if so, a strong adhesive will affix the denture to your gum.

In some cases the radiation will leave parts of your mouth quite tender. If you then place a denture on this tender part, the pain may be uncomfortable. This could delay the use of your dentures. Thus if you lack your usual chew power, your diet may need to change or else far more preparation of your food will be required.

Should you have a tooth extracted if you have cancer? That is a decision for your medical professionals.

Be aware that general practitioners are not specialists and are almost certainly not a dentist. If you are experiencing problems with your tongue, seeing a doctor is of course not a bad thing but a dentist knows far more about mouth hygiene and should also be consulted.

There are many myths about cancer and one is that having a wisdom tooth or teeth extracted will cause cancer. This is simply not true. In fact there is little mystery about the cause of most cancers of the throat and tongue – smoking. It is yet another type of cancer which is largely preventable; in short, don’t smoke or, if you do, quit now.

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