Regardless of what type, cancer is a scary and dreaded diagnosis. When it comes to cancer, however, knowledge can be your most powerful tool in prevention. Mouth cancer is no different. In fact, knowing the facts about oral cancer as well as your personal risk factors for this serious disease can drastically limit your chances of ever hearing the “c” word from your dentist.
One key fact about oral cancer is that it is highly treatable, but only if it is caught early. If oral cancer is ignored, it can be fatal. How do you catch oral cancer early? Here are some tips:
Don’t skip your routine dental visits. During a preventative or routine dental checkup, your dentist will automatically check for signs of oral cancer. There is even advanced technology that allows your dentist to scan for cancerous lesions in just minutes – without you feeling a thing! Skipping these critical checkups could be detrimental if you unknowingly have oral cancer.
Know the warning signs of oral cancer. Equip yourself with the knowledge of what oral cancer can look and feel like. Cancer Treatment Centers of America offers a comprehensive list of the most common symptoms of mouth cancer:
- Persistent mouth sores that do not heal
- Persistent mouth pain
- A lump or thickening in the cheek
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
- A sore throat or persistent feeling that something is caught in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
- Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth
- Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly
- Loosening of the teeth
- Pain in the teeth or jaw
- Voice changes
- A lump in the neck
- Weight loss
- Persistent bad breath
If any of these symptoms appear and stick around for multiple days or weeks, your dentist needs to know!
Access Your Risk
There are many risk factors associated with oral cancer. It is important that you know how high your personal risk is and take measures to lower that risk if possible. While genetics can play a role in the development of oral cancer, it is also a disease that becomes much more likely if you use tobacco (smoking or vaping) or you consume excessive amounts of alcohol (more than 21 drinks per week).
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening in Marietta
Screening for oral cancer takes just a few painless minutes of your day, but it can save your life. At Gilreath Dental Associates, we proudly offer oral cancer detection. To learn more about mouth cancer and your risk for developing it, call Dr. Gilreath today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,