Oral Cancer Awareness

oral cancer awareness ribbon

The month of April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth or throat. Just over 130 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each day in the United States. That is why at Paradise Dental, we provide a complimentary oral cancer screening at every continued care appointment. This disease can be fatal, and it is important for people to understand the risks, symptoms, and preventative measures necessary to avert oral cancer. Here, we will discuss just that.

Increased Risk:

There are many things you may partake in, have gone through, or were born with that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. While most cases were found to have been caused by tobacco use or pre-existing HPV, there are many factors that can increase your risk of developing this horrible cancer. You are at increased risk if you are:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco regularly. Over 80% of oral cancer cases are caused by frequent tobacco use. 
  • Drinking alcohol excessively
  • Skip visits to the dentist
  • Overly exposed face/lips/mouth to sunlight 
  • Weakened immune system
  • Gender: men are twice as more likely to develop oral cancer than women
  • HPV: there is a big connection between the human papillomavirus and oral cancers
  • Take poor care of your oral hygiene

Symptoms:

Though these may be similar symptoms to other problems, you should be looking out for these symptoms daily. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist for screening immediately:

  • Discolored patches anywhere around or inside your mouth
  • Difficulties chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Numbness 
  • Jaw swelling
  • Mouth sores
  • Loose teeth
  • Teeth or jaw pain
  • Persistent sores near lips and mouth

Prevention

Oral cancer is a preventable disease and can be treated when caught early on. Follow these preventative measures to lower your risk of developing oral cancer:

  • Quit any tobacco use
  • Cut down to one alcoholic drink a day, if that
  • Limit sun exposure and always put on SPF sunscreen and chapstick
  • Continue regular dentist visits
  • Know your mouth; if you see something out of the ordinary, call your dentist immediately

Our hearts are with all oral cancer patients and survivors this month and always. We hope you will keep this information with you going forward, in order to prevent oral cancer in your life. For more information, donations, and volunteer opportunities, please visit The Oral Cancer Foundation’s Website. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please call Paradise Dental Associates today to schedule an immediate screening.

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