Since over 45,000 people will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year, we urge you to see us if you haven’t had a dental exam in a while. When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems can be reduced.
Regular oral cancer examinations can help detect oral cancer in its early stages. Dental visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.
According to the American Dental Association here is a list of signs and symptoms you should be aware of in relation to your oral health, especially if they last more than two weeks:
- a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
- red or white patches
- pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
- a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
If you notice any of these changes, please call our office immediately to set up an appointment. Don’t ignore any suspicious lumps or sores that last more than two weeks. Prompt examination could make a difference.
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!