Oral cancer is a serious disease that affects the mouth, throat, and other parts of the oral cavity. Various factors can cause it, so it's vital to get regular screenings to detect any signs of developing this disease.
Fortunately, your dentist can help you with this process by performing an oral cancer screening during your regular check-up. In this blog post, we will discuss what you need to know about oral cancer and tips for prevention.
Common Causes of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can develop from several different factors, including:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Smoking tobacco
- Chewing tobacco
However, it's important to note that anyone can be at risk for developing oral cancer regardless of lifestyle choices. Certain viruses, such as HPV (human papillomavirus), may also increase your risk.
Additionally, sun exposure has been linked with lip cancers caused by UV radiation penetrating through the tissue on your lips when exposed for long periods.
The Importance of Regular Screenings
Regular screenings are essential in detecting signs of potential oral cancer before it becomes severe and difficult to treat. During the screening, your dentist will look at the inside and outside of your mouth for any potential signs indicating the presence or development of oral cancer.
This includes looking at the lips and tongue for discoloration or sores that may indicate something more severe than a sore spot in your mouth.
Your dentist will also feel around in your mouth with their fingers to check for lumps or bumps that may signify underlying issues with your mouth's tissue structure.
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
It's essential to pay attention to any changes in your mouth and throat that could signal possible signs of developing oral cancer. These warning signs include:
- Pain when swallowing food or liquids
- Difficulty speaking
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Numbness in the face
- Unexplained bleeding from inside the mouth
- Sores on the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, roof/floor/sides/back/throat/neck area that won't heal after two weeks
- White patches inside the mouth
- Coughing up blood
- Persistent bad breath despite brushing regularly
Oral Cancer Prevention Tips
Reduce your chances of developing oral cancer by doing the following:
- Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss once daily
- Avoid tobacco products
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Use sunscreen on your lips
- Practice safety measures when engaging in any sexual activities
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups every six months
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
Lastly, do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you experience the above symptoms. Catching the disease in the early stages drastically increases your risk of survival.
Ensure you and your mouth are healthy by scheduling an appointment at ProHEALTH Dental. Our dentists have the knowledge and experience to check for any signs of oral cancer and help you live happily and healthily for years to come. Give us a call today. (855) 750-5011