Oral cancer can be incredibly devastating. This type of cancer essentially impacts the back of throat, lips, or mouth. There are many important considerations to understand about oral cancer in order to provide thorough, effective protection for your health. For one thing, it is absolutely critical to ensure that you visit your dentist on a regular basis. Not only will these visits help to improve your oral health, but they will also help to detect oral cancer in the early stages, when it is generally more treatable. Many people know that regular dental visits improve the health of their teeth, but fewer are aware that these dental visits can save their life! Here are some important things that you need to know about oral cancer.
It is crucial to ensure that you know the symptoms of oral cancer so that you can detect the presence of it in the earliest stages. If dentures have newly become ill-fitting, it is highly likely that there is an issue with the oral health. Many oral health problems, including oral cancer, can manifest as ear pain. It is especially important to ensure that you visit your dentist if you are experiencing ear pain that doesn’t come along with hearing loss. The jaw may become swollen when oral cancer develops. It can also cause the tongue to become numb or painful and can make it incredibly difficult to move the jaw or the tongue. The sensation of something stuck in the throat is also a common symptom of this type of cancer, along with difficulties chewing or swallowing.
Keep in mind that not all of these symptoms necessarily indicate oral cancer. However, if you have experienced some or all of these symptoms for over 2 weeks, you should certainly schedule a visit with your dentist. Don’t ignore these symptoms, especially if they persist. Other symptoms of this type of cancer come along with lumps or sores in the mouth. Red or white patches in particular may indicate the presence of oral cancer. Lip sores or mouth sores that bleed extremely easily or simply won’t heal may also indicate that this cancer is developing. A sore, thick patch, irritation, rough spot, or lump that is located anywhere on the lips, mouth, or throat may indicate that this kind of cancer is developing. When there are changes in the color of the mouth, you should also consider that cancer may be a possibility.
Increased Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer. When you avoid these various factors, you will be able to reduce the possibility of developing this type of cancer. When you drink alcohol particularly heavily, your risk of developing oral cancer will be much higher. Another risk factor is often completed in conjunction with heavy drinking, which further increases the likelihood of developing cancer. This is the regular use of tobacco products. This isn’t limited solely to cigarettes. Any tobacco product, including cigars, chewing tobacco, or other alternatives can increase the risk of oral cancer. Many people are aware that there are cancer risks associated with excessive sun exposure. Being burnt by the sun substantially increases the risk of skin cancer, which is why it is so important to use sunscreen. However, few people are aware that oral cancer can also come from the sun because the lips can be burnt, as well. Protect your lips with lip balm with a high SPF.
Age often increases the overall risk associated with the development of cancer. Oral cancer is most common in individuals that are over the age of 40. In addition to this, males are also two times as likely as women to develop this particular type of cancer. Individuals that fall into this category need to be especially cautious to avoid the controllable risk factors of this cancer, such as quitting smoking or drinking. Following a nutritious diet has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. Individuals that eat an unhealthy diet will be at higher risk of oral cancer development. This type of cancer is often quite severe, so it is especially important to avoid as many risk factors as possible.
Importance of Dental Visits
Regular dental visits are an important part of a good oral hygiene routine. These visits help to find oral health problems in the early stages, when they are easier to resolve. The same thing applies to the development of oral cancer. Your dentist is well aware of the various signs and symptoms that come along with this type of cancer. As they complete your regular examination, they will keep an eye open for particularly suspicious areas that may indicate the presence of cancer.
If they locate any of these areas, they will perform a test. This test is used to collect cells from the lesion. After the cells have been collected, they will be sent to a lab for additional testing. These tests will help to determine if the lesion is pre-cancerous. The earlier cancerous lesions are detected, the more treatable they will likely be. Early detection can help to save lives.
Statistics of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is far more common than many people think. Nearly 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with this type of cancer on an annual basis. Around 7,500 Americans will die from oral cancer every year. Understanding the prevalence and dangerous levels of oral cancer will help you to understand the importance of reducing your risk factors and obtaining regular dental visits.
At Mills River Family Dental, we offer many services to protect your oral health. Regular dental visits are an incredibly important part of protecting your health from oral cancer and ensuring that it can be detected in the early stages. If you suspect that you have oral cancer, it is critical to act quickly to have it tested in order to protect your health. Schedule a regular dental exam with us by contacting our expert team at Mills River Family Dental today!