Oral Cancer Awareness
As everyone knows, seeing your dentist every six months is crucial for your oral health. But it’s not just cavities your dentist is looking for, but signs of oral cancer. They are the first medical professionals to notice these signs. Contact your dentist right away if you experience abnormal oral symptoms.
Signs of Oral Cancer
There are a few things that stick out when it comes to oral cancer. The first is a sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal or takes over two weeks to do so. This might also accompany symptoms like:
- Bumps that bleed easily
- Lumps or hard spots in the mouth
- Strange coloring to the mouth or gums
- A bump on the neck
Do not wait until your next check-up to talk to your dentist about these symptoms. Make an appointment right away.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
There are a few habits that contribute to the development of oral cancer. Patients that smoke and drink regularly are at a higher risk. The American Lung Association states that smokers are ten times more likely to develop oral cancer. This is because tobacco products contain highly carcinogenic materials and toxins. Repeated exposure to the soft tissues of the mouth and throat puts you at risk.
Alcohol affects the mouth by weakening the cell walls. When used in combination with tobacco, the weakened walls make it easier for tobacco products to cause harm.
HPV and Oral Cancer
The human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is an STD transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected individual. Studies have shown a connection between oral cancer and HPV, known as HPV-caused oropharyngeal cancer. The symptoms of oral cancer vary slightly with HPV. Patients experience a sore throat, constant cough, pain in both or one ear, and difficulty swallowing.
Contact Your Dentist Right Away
Prevention and early treatment is the key to overcoming this disease. It’s why you should never wait to contact your dentist with any questions about your oral health. Don’t wait for your bi-annual checkup to give us a call. If you are a smoker or regular drinker, you should consider changing your lifestyle habits. Your dentist can help you find the resources to do so.