April has been designated as National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Thus, dentists all around the country are coming together to encourage everyone to take a stand against a disease that over 40,000 people will be diagnosed with this year. Your dentist in Dublin is doing his part by encouraging you to get your semi-annual screening to make sure that you are as healthy as can be. As you continue reading, you’ll learn more about how preventive dentistry helps to fight this disease.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer, a disease that over 10,000 people will succumb to this year, is the result of the uncontrollable growth of mutated cells in the mouth and throat, manifesting as follows:
- Mouth – In the mouth, the disease can spread throughout the lips, cheek lining, teeth, gums, the front two-thirds of the tongue and the roof of the mouth.
- Throat – When in the throat, it can be found in the tonsils and at the base of the tongue (considered as part of the throat).
Symptoms to be on the Lookout for
The following symptoms may be warning signs of oral cancer:
- A sore or irritated throat that doesn’t seem to get any better
- Red or white patches on the soft tissues in the mouth
- Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
The Importance of Preventive Dentistry
When it comes to preventing oral cancer, time factors greatly in the equation. Thus, maintaining regular visits to your dentist for cleanings and examinations ensures that you stay ahead of time. This is because during these appointments, you’ll receive a full oral cancer screening from your dentist.
If any signs of the disease are discovered, your chances of beating it are much greater when it’s detected early.
Furthermore, researchers have found that bacteria growth contributes to your susceptibility to developing oral cancer. Therefore, when your dental hygienist removes any built-up plaque and tartar that may be on your teeth and along the gum line, it also serves as a preventive mechanism.
One of the reasons for National Oral Cancer Awareness Month is to leave you feeling empowered to take control of your dental health. Thus, when you reach out to your dentist to schedule a semi-annual visit, you are taking a major step in that direction.
About the Author
A graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Dr. Eric Buck has become a fixture in the Dublin community. He remains just as passionate about making his patients smile today as he did when he first opened his practice. As part of his quest to offer the best care possible, Dr. Buck maintains affiliation with several professional organizations and can be found providing care at Distinctive Smiles of Dublin. He can be reached for more information about his services through his website.