In honor of April being Oral Cancer month, we’re diving into why getting oral screenings are so important. An oral cancer screening includes both a visual and physical screening of the mouth. The goal of the screening is to look for anything that could be cancerous or looks to be unusual in your mouth.
Where is Oral Cancer Commonly Found?
Oral cancer is divided into two main categories, the first one where the cancer is in your oral cavity including lips, cheeks, gums, and the floor/roof of your mouth. And then oropharynx where the cancer is in the middle region of the throat to the tonsils. Oral cancer can appear in any part of your mouth or gums.
What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
If you know the signs and symptoms of oral cancer you can help your dentist be on the lookout for them. If you see any signs of cancer, you can help catch and treat oral cancer sooner. Some of the most common symptoms of oral cancer are:
- A sore or irritation in the mouth that doesn’t go away
- Red/white patches in the mouth
- Pain or numbness in your mouth/gums
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Difficulty or pain when speaking or moving your jaw
- Change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
There are several risk factors that could increase your chances of getting oral cancer. One of the biggest causes of oral cancer is using any tobacco products including dip or smoking cigarettes. Other risk factors are if you have had oral cancer in the past, regularly drinking lots of alcohol, spending time in the sun and not protecting your lips against sunburn, and certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV).
How you can Prevent Oral Cancer
If you use tobacco products or drink excessive amounts changing these habits will decrease your risk. Seeing your dentist regularly will be the best way to detect cancer at it’s earliest stage.
At Paradise Dental, we understand that early detection of oral cancer is essential to saving lives which is why at every continued care appointment we screen for any symptoms of oral cancer. If you think you could be at risk for oral cancer, schedule an appointment today. You can reach us at (781) 780-2246 or contact us directly on our website.