About 10,000 Americans die each year from oral and oropharyngeal cancers, which is why it’s vital to have a regular oral cancer screening if you suspect or know you’re at risk. When these cancers are detected early, the survival rate is high, but they can progress rapidly, especially if your lifestyle is one that increases your chances of developing oral cancer.
Neumann Family Dentistry can help you monitor for signs of oral cancer through regular screenings. The sooner we catch the problem, the sooner we can work together to get you back on the road to wellness.
Early Signs of Oral Cancers
Oral cancer can take a lot of different forms, since it can affect the tongue, lips, gums, cheek linings, bones and other parts of the mouth. However, some common signs you can watch for include:
- Any changes within the mouth that don’t resolve within two weeks.
- Small white or red sores in the mouth.
- Sores or lesions that bleed easily.
- Changes in color inside your mouth.
- Lumps, rough spots and erosions.
- Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, speaking or other movements in the mouth.
- Changes in the way your teeth or dentures fit.
Yearly examinations are recommended for patients at risk for oral cancer, since small changes may be hard to spot on your own. We know what oral cancer looks like and can help you keep your mouth cancer-free.
Reduce Your Oral Cancer Risk
Although no one can totally eliminate their oral cancer risk, since genetics are often a part of the bigger picture, you can make lifestyle changes that will help significantly reduce your chances of developing it.
Start by getting those routine dental exams, as well as a yearly cancer screening. Good oral hygiene can help a lot, too. And, although it may be a more difficult struggle, reducing or quitting the use of both alcohol and tobacco of any kind can help ensure you’re doing all you can to lower your oral cancer risks.