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Do You Know the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Hand with oral cancer ribbon.
A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal. A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth. Ear or mouth pain. Difficulty swallowing. These are some symptoms that could indicate oral cancer.

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

Consider us as your partner in the fight against oral cancer. During your regular dental visits, we’ll check for any signs of oral cancer by looking for suspicious spots and feeling for lumps in and around your mouth.

We may also inspect the roof of your mouth, inside your cheeks, under your tongue, and other areas of your head and neck. Oral cancer may also appear as red or white patches on the gums, tonsils, or the lining of the mouth.

Risk Factors

Some of the most common factors known to increase your risk of developing oral cancer:

Tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or chewing tobacco is one of the most well-known risks of oral cancer.

Consuming large amounts of alcohol. Heavy drinkers are more likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer. Those who use tobacco along with alcohol are at even greater risk.

Sun exposure. When you’re out in the sun, it’s important to use a lip balm that contains SPF, as sun exposure on your lips increases your risk of oral cancer.

How to Reduce Your Risk

The good news is that mouth cancers are among the most preventable types of cancers.

Here are some steps you can take to decrease your risk:

  • Stop smoking and using any tobacco products
  • Eat plenty of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables
  • Cut down on alcohol consumption
  • Remove your dentures at night, and clean them each day
  • Practice good oral health habits, such as brushing and flossing

While it’s impossible to fully prevent oral cancer, taking these steps can help decrease your chances of getting a diagnosis. Visiting your dentist regularly will help ensure that signs of oral cancer are found as early as possible.

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