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It’s Oral Cancer Awareness Month: Here’s What You Should Know About This Dangerous Condition

April 12, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — archway @ 7:08 pm
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Oral cancer is a dangerous condition that often goes far too long without being diagnosed. Luckily, your dentist is trained to screen patients for the early signs of oral cancer so that it can be caught and treated before it leads to dangerous consequences. This is just one of the many reasons why it is so important to see your dentist at least twice a year for routine exams and cleanings. In the spirit of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, here are a few facts about this illness to emphasize the importance of early detection.

There Are Two Types of Oral Cancer

More than 54,000 people in America are diagnosed with oral cancers every year, and about 11,000 die from these conditions. Oral cancers fall into one of two groups, those being:

  • Oral cavity cancer: These cancers can be found in the lips, teeth, gums, the foremost part of the tongue, the roof and floor of your mouth, and the inside of your cheeks.
  • Cancers of the oropharynx: These are found in the back parts of the mouth such as the tonsils, throat, and the base of the tongue.

What Are Some Signs of Oral Cancer?

While your dentist and their staff will carefully screen your mouth for signs of oral cancer when you see them, it’s a great idea to be familiar with its symptoms so you can recognize them yourself. Talk to your dentist if you notice that any of the following issues last for more than two weeks:

  • A persistent sore or irritation
  • White or red patches forming on your gums, tongue, or your mouth’s lining
  • Numbness, tenderness, or pain in your lips or mouth
  • A thickened spot, lump, rough spot, or crust in your mouth
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • Your teeth fitting together differently when you close your mouth
  • Teeth or dentures feeling loose
  • The sense that something is stuck in your throat
  • A noticeable change in your voice such as hoarseness

What Can Increase My Risk for Oral Cancer?

Older people and males are generally more at risk for developing oral cancer, but certain behaviors can make these conditions more likely to develop.  Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing these conditions. While human papillomavirus has been linked to throat cancers, it can be vaccinated against.

Oral cancer is best avoided, but regular dental visits are a key part of mitigating the risk of developing it. If your dentist finds any signs of anything to worry about during your exam, they will refer you to a specialist.

About the Author

Dr. Deval Parmar earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery at the Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and advances her skills through continuing education courses in dental implants, Invisalign, and laser dentistry. She is proud to be a member of the American Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Her office in Frisco, TX offers general, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry. For more information on preventing and detecting oral cancer, contact her office online or dial (972) 972-4646.

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