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The More You Know: Oral Health Cancer

Tuesday - March 19th, 2019
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Photo by Alfaz Sayed on Unsplash

There is so much more to oral health care than making sure you brush and floss twice a day and visiting your dentist twice a year to make sure you don’t have a cavity, which is why this month is devoted to oral cancer awareness.

About 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year according to the American Cancer Society.

During your twice-yearly dental appointment, your dentist will examine your lips and mouth for cancerous or pre-cancerous conditions or irritations such as sores and white patches. Symptoms of oral cancer may be presented by:

• White or red patches inside the mouth or on the lips
• Swelling, lumps, bumps, rough spots or eroded areas on the lips or inside the mouth
• Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
• Unexplained numbness or loss of feeling in mouth, face or neck
• Persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal within 14 days
• Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue

Symptoms of oral cancer are often painless, which is why it’s important to seek out the expertise of your dentist who will be able to assess if follow up testing is needed. But with early detection, oral cancer is 90% curable!

While gender, age and genetics play a role in your individual risk factor in your likelihood of developing oral cancer, lifestyle plays an even bigger role. Tobacco use, smoking, drinking, sun exposure and HPV can increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

Why wait until your next twice-yearly check-up to visit your dentist? In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness month, make an appointment and visit your dentist for an oral cancer screening today!