It is crucial to learn about oral cancer in order to protect your overall health. This kind of cancer develops on any part of the lips, mouth, or back of throat. When you don’t understand the importance of preventing oral cancer, you are far less likely to take the steps to reduce the likelihood of developing it. Here are some important things that you need to learn about oral cancer in order to stay safe and optimize your health.
Oral Cancer Statistics
Cancer is a word that commonly invokes fear, anxiety, and grief. However, many people overlook oral cancer when they think about cancer prevention strategies. Oral cancer is a particularly devastating type of cancer that is often deadly. In fact, around 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every single year. Additionally, nearly 7,500 people in America die from oral cancer annually. Understanding these statistics will help you to know how truly devastating oral cancer can be.
Why Regular Dental Check-Ups are Critical
Many people understand the importance of regularly visiting their dentist in order to improve their oral health and prevent substantial issues from arising. However, fewer people understand that regular dental check ups can help to ensure that oral cancer is caught in the early stages. Most people need to visit their dentist every 6 months. If you are at an increased risk of oral cancer, you may need to visit your dentist more regularly. Ensure that you follow your dentist’s instructions regarding dental visits.
During your dental check-up, your dentist will look for potential signs of oral cancer. They are likely to be much more familiar with these signs than you may be. When a dentist finds a suspect area in your mouth, they will perform a brush test. This test ensures that cells can be collected from the suspicious area and will then be sent into a lab, where it will be tested to determine if it is pre-cancerous. When you detect these lesions in the early stages, they are likely to be more treatable, which can ultimately save lives.
It is critical to ensure that you are familiar with the signs that oral cancer is developing. This will allow you to act quickly whenever these symptoms arise. Consider that these various signs may not necessarily mean that you have oral cancer. It is especially important to be cautious about symptoms that last for longer than 2 weeks. Oral cancer often leads to issues with the jaw, mouth, and throat. For example, individuals that are developing oral cancer may experience the sensation that something is consistently stuck in their throat. They often also have problems with swallowing or chewing food, which makes it difficult to optimize nutrition. This kind of cancer tends to cause difficulty when an individual tries to move their jaw or their tongue, which often makes speech difficult.
A numb or painful tongue is another common sign associated with oral cancer. The jaw may become swollen and an individual’s dentures may cease to fit as intended when they are developing this kind of cancer. The ears are closely related to the mouth. Pain in the ears is often an indication of an oral health problem. This is especially a concern when there is ear pain that hasn’t impacted hearing. Patches in the mouth often indicate that oral cancer is developing. For example, red or white patches may appear when the cancer begins to set in. Sores that are on the mouth or the lip may indicate cancer, especially if they won’t heal or bleed extremely easily. Changes in the color of the mouth may also indicate the development of cancer. Carefully inspect the throat, lips, and mouth for signs of lumps, sores, thick patches, irritations, or rough spots.
Factors that Increase Risk
When you understand which factors may increase your risk of developing oral cancer, you will be able to avoid many of these factors. This will go a long way toward protecting your health and reducing your chances of developing this type of cancer. Following an unhealthy diet tends to increase the likelihood that you will develop oral cancer. The foods that you eat can either reduce or increase your risk level. It is important to follow a healthy, nutritious diet to protect yourself and your health. There are some risk factors that are out of the individual’s control. Due to this, it is important to reduce risk factors wherever possible. Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer. In addition, individuals that are over the age of 40 are much more likely to have this type of cancer.
There are other factors that can be controlled by an individual. Most people know that skin cancer risk is increased with sun exposure. Oral cancer risk is also increased with sun exposure because the lips can become burnt. When you go out in the sun, you should use lip balm that contains a sufficient SPF level to protect your lips. Heavy drinking of alcohol will also increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Reducing your alcohol consumption is a great strategy for improving your health. One of the most common causes of oral cancer is the use of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. If you use any of these products, it is important to quit using them in order to improve your health and reduce your risk of cancer.
Contact our Experts
At Jenson Dental, we strive to protect your oral health. It is extremely important to ensure that you visit our dental office for regular dental exams. These exams can help to ensure that the signs of oral cancer are found in the early stages, which will help to improve likelihood of it being treatable. If you suspect that you are developing this type of cancer, it is incredibly important to have it checked out by a professional to protect your health. Contact our expert team at Jenson Dental to schedule your regular dental exam with us!