Oral health is arguably the most important indicator of overall health, but people often forget about it or are unwilling to take the necessary care of their teeth and mouth. April marks Oral Cancer Awareness Month — a great time to highlight the importance of oral health and the best ways to reduce your chances of being diagnosed with oral cancer, a disease that leads to the equivalent of one person in the US dying of the disease each year.
Oral cancer refers to cancer in the mouth or throat lining as well as the lips.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer to Look Out For
There are several key symptoms to look out for during your daily brushing.
Lumps or swelling in your mouth
White or red patches or sores
Difficulty swallowing or chewing
Sudden weight loss
Pain in the jaw or ear
Consistent bad breath
How to Reduce Your Chance of Getting Oral Cancer
Like most cancers, anyone can be affected by oral cancer, however, there are certain habits that make it more likely to suffer from oral cancer. Below are some ways to reduce these risk factors.
Brushing after every meal (or at least twice a day) and flossing
Visit the dentist at least twice a year to have a dental exam and cleaning
Using SPF lip balm regularly to reduce sun exposure on your lips
Have a healthy and balanced diet to improve your overall health
Human papillomavirus is one of the major risk factors so the HPV vaccination is recommended
Moderate your intake of tobacco products and alcohol
It’s important to note that we can do everything right, and still oral cancer, so early detection is key. At Reyes Dental Group in Lorton, VA we are your first line of defense for this disease that affects over 50,000 people in the US every year.
If you spot any of the oral cancer symptoms for more than two weeks, please make an appointment immediately so Dr. Reyes can review your symptoms and suggest the right treatment or refer you to a specialist. Every time you visit our dental practice in Lorton for your cleaning, we carry out an oral cancer screening — there’s no need to worry as it’s completely painless.
If you have any questions about oral cancer or the screening process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the team and please help us increase the awareness of oral cancer by encouraging your friends and family to visit the dentist for their screening.