While April is typically associated with spring break and Easter, it’s also known as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. As one of the most prevalent conditions diagnosed every year, it’s highly important that you know the risk factors as well as the steps you can take to avoid this problem. Keep reading to learn more about oral cancer, the common symptoms to look for, and how your dentist can help you.
The Most Common Oral Cancer Risk Factors
While this oral health condition can impact virtually anyone, particular risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing it. Some of the most common ones involve:
- Overindulging in alcohol
- Excessive use of tobacco products
- Sexually transmitted diseases, such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Gender (men have a higher chance of developing oral cancer)
7 Indications to Watch Out For
There are different ways that oral cancer can show itself. If you want to address the earlier stages of this condition, you’ll want to understand the typical signs and inform your dentist if you notice them. The common symptoms may include:
- Discomfort or numbness in the mouth or on the lips
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- A feeling like something is stuck in your throat
- A bump, lump, or rough spot
- A sore that won’t go away
- Difficulty talking, chewing, swallowing, or moving your jaw
- Any changes in your bite
The Importance of Your Biannual Dental Visits
Seeing your dentist every six months (or sooner) for checkups and cleanings does much more for you than simply monitoring the condition of your teeth and polishing them. Other than ensuring your gums and the rest of your smile is healthy, they’ll also take the time to perform an oral cancer screening. This will involve checking your tongue, the lining of your mouth, and the back of your throat for any indications. Should they detect any problems or symptoms, they’ll be sure to let you know and develop a plan for addressing the situation. In this way, you’ll be able to get treatment in the early stages, allowing you to prevent it from worsening over time.
If you haven’t seen your dentist in over six months, now’s a great time to schedule a checkup! They’ll be more than happy to help you maintain your smile and keep oral cancer at bay.
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck is highly-experienced and passionate about delivering the best dental care you deserve. He studied at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and is a member of several organizations like the Columbus Dental Society and the Academy of General Dentistry. He offers a wide range of extensive and preventive treatments, including oral cancer screenings. If you’d like to schedule your next visit, feel free to check out our website or call us at 614-792-1800.