The Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Do You Know the Signs?
A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal. A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth. Ear or mouth pain. Difficulty swallowing. These are some symptoms that could indicate oral cancer.
The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups
During your regular dental visits, we’ll check for any signs, suspicious spots and feeling for lumps in and around your mouth.
We may also inspect the roof of your mouth, inside your cheeks, under your tongue, and other areas of your head and neck. Furthermore, it may also appear as red or white patches on the gums, tonsils, or the lining of the mouth.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Some of the most common factors known to increase your risk of developing oral cancer:
Tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or chewing tobacco.
Consuming large amounts of alcohol. Heavy drinkers are more likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer. Those who use tobacco along with alcohol are at even greater risk.
Sun exposure. When you’re out in the sun, it’s important to use a lip balm that contains SPF, as sun exposure on your lips increases your risk.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer
The good news is that mouth cancers are among the most preventable types of cancers.
Here are some steps you can take to decrease your risk:
- Stop smoking and using any tobacco products
- Eat plenty of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables
- Cut down on alcohol consumption
- Remove your dentures at night, and clean them each day
- Practice good oral health habits, such as brushing and flossing
While it’s impossible to fully prevent oral cancer, taking these steps can help decrease your chances of getting a diagnosis.
Visiting your dentist regularly will help ensure that signs of oral cancer are found as early as possible.
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