Oral cancer refers to cancer found in any part of the mouth, including cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks and floor of the mouth. It can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. Unfortunately, oral cancers are often not detected early because the symptoms can be painless, and many people are not aware of the disease. But the good news is that survival rate is high when oral cancers are found in the first stages. Awareness and early detection are key!

During Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we take the opportunity to talk about early detection through oral cancer screening can help oral health professionals identify the symptoms and signs of various types of oral cancer. Additionally, people can keep an eye out for the following symptoms and signs of oral cancer:

Oral Cancer Awareness: The Symptoms

  • White or red patches inside the m outh or on the lips
  • Swelling, lumps, bumps,rough spots or eroded areas on the lips or inside the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness or loss of feeling in mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal within 14 days
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue

Oral Cancer Awareness: The Risk Factors

  • Age: The disease usually occurs over the age of 40
  • Gender: Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancers
  • Lifestyle: Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, and heavy alcohol use
  • Family or personal history: Those who have had oral cancer previously are at an increased risk of developing another oral cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection

If you notice anything strange or unusual in your mouth, talk to your dentist about a fast, painless oral cancer screening.

Side-note … during my research for this blog, I had to ask, 
“What is a Betel Nut?”
The information I discovered is disturbing:

Betel nuts are found across Asia, growing in palm trees. They’re used so widely, they’re one of the most popular mind-altering substances in the world. People chew on the nut and the leaf together to get high. Supposedly, it’s like a combination of tobacco and a lot of caffeine.

When they are chewed, the nuts give user a rush of stamina and euphoria. Excessive chewing causes discolored or even loss of teeth and oral cancer. Unfortunately, they’re not very difficult to purchase in the U.S. because they are not illegal or banned at this time.

Even though the betel nut is not a controlled substance, it can be illegal to import, especially wholesale. They can be dangerous, and the World Health Organization has labeled the betel nut as a carcinogen.

Oral Cancer Awareness: What Can Put You at Risk?

Like many diseases and cancers, regular use of both alcohol and tobacco can impact your health and increase your risk of developing oral cancer. There are other ways that oral cancer develops, including:

  • Poor diet
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • HIV infection
  • UV rays – when it comes to lip cancer

Oral Cancer Awareness: What Can You Do to Prevent It?

Schedule Your Dental Exam: When you schedule your regular oral health exam with an oral health professional, they will take the time to check for any irregular symptoms or changes in your mouth that could demonstrate a serious issue.

Related Article: Find Out Why an Oral cancer Screening is Really Important

Self-Exam: In between your regular dental checkup and oral cancer screening, you can perform a self-directed oral exam. Remember to take time to inspect your gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, and both the roof and floor of your mouth. Inspect for the warning signs and symptoms listed above. If you find any irregular or suspicious issues, contact your oral health professional immediately for a follow-up.

Decrease Your Risk: To further decrease your risk of developing a type of oral cancer, you can limit or quit your consumption of alcohol and tobacco, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and consistently practice good oral health practices.

Oral Cancer Awareness: Early Detection is Critical

Early detection is critical in overcoming oral cancer of all types. Most of these diseases can be caught early with regular dental check-ups and self-directed oral examinations. Although there are factors that can increase your chance of developing oral cancer, it is a disease that can affect anyone. At Adams Dental Group, we’re ready to help you with your oral health needs during Oral Cancer Awareness Month or any other time. Call us today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Kansas City, KS.

Additional Resources:

Local dentist, Travis A. Roberts and his experienced, friendly team at Adams Dental Group offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the Kansas City, KS area. We have two locations that are conveniently located and offer appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At Adams Dental Group, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including dental implants, dentures, endodontic or root canal treatment, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at our West location (913) 296-8030 or our East location (913) 621-3113 to schedule an appointment.

April 9th, 2019

Posted In: Dental Health Tips

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