November is mouth cancer awareness month. Most people have heard of cancer affecting different parts of the body, but many people don’t realize that it can also occur in the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. You don’t even have to have teeth to be affected. Mouth cancer is more common in people over 40, particularly men, but in recent time it is becoming more common in women and younger patients.
Most cases of mouth cancer have been linked to alcohol and tobacco, especially chewing tobacco. Used together, alcohol and tobacco create an even greater risk for developing mouth cancer.
So how can you avoid mouth cancer? Most mouth cancer can be found early by your dentist during a mouth examination. Found early, the chances of a cure are good. It’s important to visit your dentist regularly, at least every 6 months, especially if you notice any symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Cancer include:
- Ulcers which do not heal in three weeks
- Red and white patches in the mouth
- Unusual lumps or swelling in the mouth or head and neck area
If in Doubt – Get Checked Out
Mouth Cancer can affect anyone
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. It is estimated that oral cancer will effect an estimated 37,000 Americans each year. Studies show that the chance of surviving oral cancer is 80 to 90% if you catch it in its early stages.
While a cancer screening by your dentist is always best, doing self-exams at home can increase the likelihood that an oral cancer can be detected early. Look inside your mouth in a mirror and feel the insides of your mouth, lips and gums. Don’t forget to look at the upper part of your mouth as well and your tongue and it’s surfaces.
According to mayoclinic.org:
There’s no proven way to prevent mouth cancer. However, you can reduce your risk of mouth cancer if you:
Stop using tobacco or don’t start. If you use tobacco, stop. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. Using tobacco, whether smoked or chewed, exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.
Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all. Chronic excessive alcohol use can irritate the cells in your mouth, making them vulnerable to mouth cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of mouth cancer.
Avoid excessive sun exposure to your lips. Protect the skin on your lips from the sun by staying in the shade when possible. Wear a broad-brimmed hat that effectively shades your entire face, including your mouth. Apply a sunscreen lip product as part of your routine sun protection regimen.
See your dentist regularly. As part of a routine dental exam, ask your dentist to inspect your entire mouth for abnormal areas that may indicate mouth cancer or precancerous changes.
If you notice anything unusual, a sore or discolored area of your mouth that doesn’t heal, call Dr. Brogdon for an appointment to get this checked out. We care about your dental health!
April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month and many pre-cancer and cancers can be found early during your routine dental examination. Unfortunately though, some cancers may not cause symptoms at all until they’ve reached an advanced stage, or they may cause symptoms similar to those caused by a disease other than cancer, such as a toothache. Many dentist recommend you routinely check your mouth for sores or anything unusual.
Some factors that can contribute to your increased risk of Oral Cancer include:
- Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others
- Heavy alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
If you have any of these factors or have found an unusual sore or lesion in your mouth, please let us know. Dr. Brogdon may want to perform an Oral Cancer Examination. The American Dental Association recommends all adults undergo periodic oral exams when they visit the dentist.
Remember you may not always experience any pain until later stages. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Call today to set up your appointment.
You probably know that smoking can raise your risk of lung cancer, emphysema, heart problems and a host of other serious disease, but did you realize that it can also affect your oral health? The use of tobacco can cause gum disease, oral cancer, and other dental problems. Besides affecting your health, smoking can discolor your teeth and even you tongue.
According to everydayhealth.com:
“It’s hard to say what percentage of people who smoke will get mouth cancer, but the death rate of those who do get it is high — between 40 and 50 percent of all cases, and that hasn’t changed over the last few decades.”
The American Cancer Society estimates that 90 percent of people with oral cancer (cancer affecting the lips, tongue, throat, and mouth) have used tobacco in some form. Likewise, the risk of oral cancer is six times higher among smokers relative to non-smokers. Your individual risk of oral cancer depends on how long you’ve been using tobacco — the longer you use it, the greater your risk.
And people who use smokeless (chewing) tobacco are at a four to six time greater risk of oral cancer than people who don’t use tobacco at all. People who use smokeless tobacco are also at higher risk of tooth decay and cavities because some varieties of chewing tobacco contain sugar for a sweeter taste, and sugar is a primary cause of tooth decay.
At Brogdon Dental we are here to help you. Regular dental visits can help with early detection of gum disease and precancereous mouth sores. The sooner you get treatment, the better your odds are. Call us today to set up a screening.