Oral cancer is a common type of cancer. The rapid and uncontrollable growth of cells damage the tissues in the mouth, throat, tonsils, lips, and tongue. Oral cancer is on the rise and has a high mortality rate if not caught and treated early on.
In fact, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 42,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to be aware of possible signs of oral cancer, and to get routinely checked at the dentist office for early detection.
Signs of oral cancer
- 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
? How to minimize your risk of oral cancers
- Quit smoking and using tobacco
- Quit or minimize alcohol consumption
- Practice consistent oral hygiene
- See your dentist for regular dental exams and oral cancer screenings
? Are you at risk for oral cancers?
- have a family history of cancer?
- use tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco?
- have exposure to the HPV-16 virus?
- drink alcohol excessively?
- fall in the category of being a male over age 50 (men are twice as likely as women to get oral cancer)?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Keep an eye on symptoms and receive consistent oral cancer screenings from your dentist.
It is important to remember, however, that you do not have to be in the “at-risk” categories above in order for oral cancer to start. Get screened consistently.
Oral cancer screenings at Washington Smiles in Washington, Missouri
We are your first line of defense against oral cancer. At your regular dentist visits, we thoroughly examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer.