Well, it’s the start of a new year. While you’re scheduling all your annual exams and screenings for the year, don’t forget about your oral health. There is more to good oral health than checking for cavities and getting your teeth cleaned regularly. Make sure you get checked for this condition. What are the symptoms and risk factors? How often is screening recommended?
Oral cancer can easily go undetected because it shares signs with many other conditions. The best defense against this disease is early detection and timely treatment. Let’s learn about the symptoms and risk factors for oral cancer and what you can do if you think you’re at risk.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
- Mouth or lip sores that don’t go away
- Neck swelling
- Lump in your cheek
- Mouth pain that doesn’t stop
- Swallowing or chewing difficulties
- Feeling like something is stuck in your throat
- Trouble moving your tongue or jaw
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol use
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Too much sun exposure on the lips
- Over the age of 40
- Previous cancer diagnosis
- Changes in how your teeth or dentures fit together
Reduce Oral Cancer Risk
You can help reduce your oral cancer risk by using an SPF lip balm and limiting sun exposure. Practice proper nutrition by eating well-balanced meals. Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid tobacco products. If you wear dentures, take them out at night. Maintain good oral hygiene habits.
Along with a visual and manual exam of your face, neck, lips, and mouth, we use OralID®. It’s a portable, handheld light used to identify abnormal oral tissue. The unit’s special blue light helps us see tissue changes we would miss with the naked eye.
Signs and symptoms are different for each person. Remember, early detection is our most effective tool in the fight against oral cancer. Get screened at least once a year during a visit for an exam and cleaning. Know the symptoms and risk factors. Have you had an oral cancer screening? Call our office to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Holsinger and Dr. Higgins