Oral Cancer 101: What to Know for a Healthy Smile

April 23, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drcourtney @ 4:29 am
a dentist holding an oral cancer awareness month

As with most things in life, it’s better to take care of something before it becomes a major issue. This can also include caring for your smile! By attending your dental checkups and cleanings every six months, you are not only keeping your teeth in peak condition but preventing any issues from developing into something more serious. While many people think your dentist is only checking for early signs of tooth decay and gum disease, they are also looking for symptoms of oral cancer. By detecting this disease in its early stages, you can receive the necessary treatment to keep it from spreading. Read on to learn about the risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

It’s estimated that nearly 54,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year. The most significant risk factor is tobacco use. Studies have revealed that people who smoke or use chewing tobacco are more likely to develop cancer in their mouths, with the chances increasing with how often they partake in the habit.

However, there are other risk factors to be aware of, including:

  • Gender: Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer.
  • Age: The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55.
  • Weight: Research has found that excess body weight may increase the risk of cancer in the throat area near the back of the mouth.
  • Poor nutrition: People who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables may be at a greater risk of suffering from oral cancer.
  • UV light: Unprotected sun exposure can increase the risk of developing cancer on your lips.
  • HPV infection: In the past few decades, there has been an increasing number of oral cancer cases linked to HPV.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

In addition to attending your dental checkups every six months, you can be proactive in your oral health by being familiar with the warning signs of oral cancer. This can help you catch it in its early stages. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Sores in the mouth that don’t heal within two weeks.
  • Patches of discolored soft tissue.
  • Unusual lumps or hard spots.
  • Odd growths (tissue that is raised above the surrounding area).
  • A lump that can be felt on the outside of the neck that lasts two weeks or more.
  • Areas that bleed easily when touched.

Keep in mind, nothing should replace an oral cancer screening from your dentist. Since it is a normal part of every dental checkup, it will be another thing to conveniently check off your list as you care for your health. Your dentist not only will help keep your smile radiant, but also help keep your oral health in top condition!

About the Practice

Artistry Smile Center is eager to keep your oral health in peak condition through its two experienced dentists. With the goal of providing a spa-like experience while expertly caring for your smile, they offer a comprehensive range of dental services. Their preventive dentistry involves not only keeping your teeth and gums healthy but checking for early signs of oral cancer. To schedule an appointment, contact them through their website or call (614) 451-7393.

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