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Posted on: January 21, 2023
Beating Oral Cancer With Your Voorhees Dentist
Taking on oral cancer is not something that you can do alone. In fact, the battle against oral cancer starts with early detection. While it’s hard to diagnose yourself, it’s easy for your local Voorhees dentist. Thus, you shouldn’t see your dentist just for teeth cleanings and checkups. Another reason is to catch oral cancer quickly and give yourself a fighting chance to stop it.
Since November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, let’s review more in depth about oral cancer. Learn about some of the symptoms, what can cause it and the best way to treat it.
Are you worried about having oral cancer, or has it just been a while since your last dental checkup? In either case, reach out to us. We can examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer during your next checkup.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer, which is sometimes referred to as mouth cancer, is a specific type of cancer that affects different areas of your mouth. This includes, but isn’t limited to, your gums, tongue, and lips.
Oral cancer can be very dangerous. One reason is because it is hard to self-diagnose. People often confuse oral cancer with other oral health problems.
Another reason oral cancer is so dangerous is because it can spread very quickly in its early stages. Thus, it’s not only hard to diagnose, but it can also spread to other areas of the body if left untreated. This is why it’s so important to visit your dentist on a regular basis.
What Are Some Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
It can be hard for untrained individuals to spot oral cancer. Like mentioned above, oral cancer can often be mistaken for other oral health problems. This is why so many people fail to catch it on their own. It takes an exam by a Voorhees dentist to ensure that you catch oral cancer early.
That said, the symptoms of oral cancer typically come across as slight abnormalities in the gums, mouth or teeth. For example, one of the most common signs is ulcers or sores in the mouth. A number of things can cause sores in your mouth that aren’t always oral cancer. If you have an ulcer or a sore in your mouth that won’t heal for three or more weeks, though, you should contact your dentist.
Other times, oral cancer can look like red or white patches in the mouth. Further still, it feels just like a rough part on the roof of your mouth, tongue or cheeks. Because of this, you should have any kind of abnormality in your mouth looked at by your dentist.
What Increases Your Risk of Getting Oral Cancer?
Some people are simply at a higher risk of getting oral cancer than others. Dentists say that, like many other cancers, oral cancer can be hereditary. Thus, if someone in your family has had it, you might be at a higher risk of getting it yourself. That being said, you can control some other factors that increase your chances of getting oral cancer.
Using Tobacco Products
The number one cause of all oral cancer is tobacco use. In fact, two of every three cases of oral cancer are linked to the use of tobacco products. Thus, if you want to lower your chances of getting oral cancer, you have to cut out all tobacco products. This doesn’t just mean cutting out smoking either. It means cutting out chewing tobacco as well.
Alcohol typically doesn’t cause oral cancer unless you drink a lot of it. Dentists say that heavy drinking can slightly increase your risk. That being said, what is considered heavy drinking? Most studies say that if you drink more than 21 alcoholic drinks in a single week, you will have a slightly higher chance of developing oral cancer.
On that same note, if you drink heavily and smoke, you’re at an even higher risk of getting oral cancer. In fact, heavy drinkers and smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer compared to people who don’t do either.
Other Factors You Should Know
Unfortunately, there are some other factors that might increase your risk of getting oral cancer, some of which you can’t control. For example, did you know that men are more likely than women to develop oral cancer? Also, people over the age of 45 are more likely to develop mouth cancer as well. Thus, as you age, your risk of oral cancer increases.
When it comes to getting cancer on your lips, prolonged exposure to the sun can increase your risk. One of the biggest problems is that people don’t do much to protect their lips when they’re out in the sun. This is bad because your lips are just like the rest of your skin and can get sunburned.
Another issue that can lead to oral cancer is improperly fitted dentures. When your dentures don’t fit properly, they slide around in your mouth, causing mouth sores. Since you wear these dentures every day, they continue to cause sores that don’t heal. These sores are at a higher risk of turning into oral cancer.
How Is Oral Cancer Treated?
There’s no one way to go about treating oral cancer. Sometimes, if it’s caught early enough, the only treatment that you need is to remove the affected tissue. Other times, the cancer might require other treatments, such as chemotherapy. Your dentist will let you know the best course of action for your specific case.
Take a Stand Against Oral Cancer
Are you ready to take a stand against oral cancer? If so, the best way to do that is to get checked often. Make sure that you’re visiting your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups. During these checkups your Voorhees dentist will screen you for oral cancer. These screenings are the best way to catch it early.
Are you ready for your first screening? If so, give us a call today, and let us set you up an appointment.