Oral cancer is, unfortunately, a common type of cancer that is becoming more frequently diagnosed. With oral cancer, the growth of cells damage the tissues in the mouth, throat, tonsils, lips, and tongue. If not caught and treated early on, oral cancer can have a high mortality rate. This is why knowing the signs of oral cancer and having routine oral cancer screenings are so vital to staying healthy.
What are the signs?
- Red and/or white patches or spots anywhere in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain or difficulty when chewing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Sores that do not heal in two weeks
- Sores or lesions that bleed easily
- Oral bleeding
- Loose teeth
- Changes in denture fit
- Changes in bite
- Sore throat
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth, on the lips, or on the tongue
Risk and Prevention
There are many factors and activities that can increase your likelihood of having oral cancer. If you have a family history of cancer, use tobacco or smokeless tobacco products, have exposure to the HPV-16 virus, or excessively drink alcohol, you are at a higher risk for oral cancer. Men, specifically men over 50, are also twice as likely as women to get oral cancer.
To reduce your risk, you can quit the use of tobacco products, minimize or quit drinking, and practice good oral hygiene, including regular visits and screenings. Remember just because you aren’t in an “at risk” category doesn’t mean you couldn’t develop oral cancer. Continue to get screened regularly to insure you’re staying healthy.
In Need of an Oral Cancer Screening?
With regular visits to Polished Dentistry, we will screen for oral cancer and help prevent having more dental issues down the road. Give us a call to set up your exam today!