Because April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, our team at Brar Dentistry wants to answer frequently asked questions about oral cancer and how you can reduce your risk.
- What is oral cancer?
According to WebMD, oral cancer is “uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue.” Oral cancer isn’t limited to the area inside your mouth, such as your tongue and cheeks. It can also affect your lips, sinuses, and throat.
- What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Some of the most common symptoms are:
-Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
-Change in or loss of voice
-Persistent sore throat
-Sudden / dramatic weight loss
-Feeling like something is stuck in your throat
-Soreness or numbness in your mouth, neck, or facial area
-Pain in the ear
-Changes in the way your dentures fit together
-Trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking
-White, red, or white and red patches or sores in the mouth
Keep in mind that some people who develop oral cancer may not show any symptoms at all. That’s why it’s so important to schedule a routine dental cleaning and exam with us at Brar Dentistry.
Our skilled hygienists are trained to look for the warning signs of oral cancer. Your dental checkup with us will include an oral cancer screening during your thorough examination with Dr. Brar.
- Can oral cancer be prevented?
While oral cancer can’t be prevented, necessarily, there are definitely things you can do to lower your risk for developing it.
Here are some common risk factors:
-Smokers/ Tobacco Users: People who smoke, for example, are about six times more likely to develop oral cancer than nonsmokers. Quitting will reduce your risk.
-Family History Of Cancer
-Excessive Drinking: Oral cancer is about six times more common in people who drink alcohol excessively over nondrinkers. If you’re going to drink alcohol, it’s best to practice moderation.
-Excessive Exposure To Sun: If you’re outside a lot, make sure to protect your face and lips with a broad-spectrum sunscreen that shields against UVA and UVB rays.
Along with avoiding high risk behaviors, the best advice we can give you about oral cancer is to practice good oral hygiene at home and to schedule regular dental checkups with us. Make sure to ask us about your potential risk when you come in for your cleaning, exam, and oral cancer screening!