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Oral Cancer Awareness Month—Recognizing the Signs

Every year, thousands of individuals are diagnosed with oral cancer, a disease that affects the mouth, throat, lips, or tongue. Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April serves as an annual reminder to highlight this condition, which impacts approximately 58,500 people in the US annually.

Understanding the Impact

The mortality rate of oral cancer is staggering, claiming a life every hour, every day of the year. Men are particularly susceptible, being twice as likely to be affected. However, early diagnosis significantly increases survival rates. Therefore, regular visits to your Lorton dentist for check-ups are essential, along with being vigilant about oral cancer symptoms between appointments.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

During your daily oral care routine, watch out for the following signs:

  • A lump or growth in your mouth or cheeks

  • Persistent sores in your mouth or on your lips that do not heal

  • White or red patches inside your mouth

  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing

  • Ear or mouth pain

  • Loose teeth

If any of these symptoms persist for more than a week or two, contact our dental office in Lorton, VA immediately. Dr. Reyes will conduct a thorough examination during an oral cancer screening, which is fast and pain-free.

Identifying Risk Factors

Just like other diseases, certain habits and lifestyle choices can increase your risk of oral cancer, including:

  • Tobacco use

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Frequent sun exposure without SPF or hat protection

  • Lack of HPV vaccination

  • Poor oral hygiene 

  • Infrequent dental visits

What Can You Do to Reduce Risk Factors?

Reducing or eliminating tobacco and alcohol consumption will drastically reduce your likelihood of developing oral cancer so this is highly recommended. Other actions, such as getting the HPV vaccine, and also adopting healthy eating patterns. Lastly, scheduling dental check-ups at least twice a year will ensure early detection of any oral health issues, including oral cancer. Oral cancer checks are quick and pain-free and we do these as part of your regular check up, however if you experience any symptoms or have concerns about oral cancer, reach out to our team for guidance and assistance. Reach out to our team to schedule your appointment.


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