Did you know that oral cancer kills approximately 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day? It is not that oral cancer is the deadliest form of cancer, it is that it is often detected too late. Mouth cancer, which can involve any part of the oral cavity (gums, lips, throat), is actually quite treatable when diagnosed at its early stages.
While your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening each year during your routine dental visit, it is imperative that you know what to look for at home. At SmileBuilders Inc., we recognize the importance of educating our patients on the early warning signs of oral cancer, which can include the following:
- White, red, or mixed red and white spots (or patches) on your tongue, gums, or any other tissues in your mouth.
- A sore or irritation in the mouth that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal.
- Bleeding in the mouth.
- Persistent tenderness, pain, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
- A lump or thickening in the cheek or neck.
- A thick, rough, or crusty spot, or a small area in the mouth.
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, talking, or moving your jaw or tongue.
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
- A change in your voice that isn’t due to a cold or allergies.
- An earache that doesn’t go away.
- Numbness of the lower lip and chin.
When you notice any changes or abnormalities in your lips, cheeks, gums or throat, let us know about it as soon as possible. While it may be nothing to worry about, a brief exam or simple biopsy can confirm whether a suspicious lesion is malignant.
Are you at high risk for oral cancer? This may mean you need to evaluate your mouth more frequently. Beyond a proper diet and exercise plan, you can also lower your risk for mouth cancer by limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco products.
To learn more about oral cancer or to schedule your mouth cancer screening in Canton, please call SmileBuilders, Inc.