Sad fact: Oral Cancer is responsible for one death every single hour in North America, and 30,000-40,000 people will be diagnosed with it this year. Unlike other cancers, Oral Cancer is usually diagnosed visually, and being aware of the symptoms of oral cancer can help get it treated right away.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer include:
- Persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal
- Swelling, lumps, crusty rough patches or erosion on any part in the mouth
- Velvety white, red, or white and red patches in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness/tingling or tenderness and pain in and around the mouth or face and neck
- Unexplained bleeding
- Difficulty swallowing or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
- Problems chewing, speaking, moving the jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, voice changes
- Changes in bite/the way your teeth fit together, or the way dentures fit or bite together
Some of the main contributors to developing Oral Cancer include:
- Tobacco use (any form of smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco, “dip” or “snuff”)
- HPV- human papillomavirus
- Heavy drinking
- Excessive sun exposure
Things that may help prevent Oral Cancer include :
- Don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco! If you smoke, get serious about quitting.
- Don’t drink or drink in moderation
- Eat an overall nutritious diet and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle
- Avoid too much sun exposure, use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher
- Take precautions to avoid contracting HPV
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, your routine exam includes a visual screening for Oral Cancer. Just another reason in the long list of why regular dental visits are important. You should also examine your own mouth about once a month and inspect all surfaces in good lighting. Pull open you mouth and inspect inside your cheeks, the top, underside, and sides of your tongue, and the roof of your mouth. The earlier cancer is detected, the sooner it can be treated and make a big difference in the prognosis!