What to Know about Oral Cancer

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Thousands of people are affected by oral cancer each year. There are many factors that contribute to the development of oral cancer, but there are also ways to decrease the chances of contracting the illness as well. It’s important to understand the potential causes, prevention methods, and treatment options to help prevent or decrease complications in the future. 

Types of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer falls into two categories: the first category develops on and inside of the lips, cheeks, teeth, gums, tongue, and the floor and roof of the mouth. The second category develops in the oropharynx, which is the middle region of the throat — including the tonsils and base of the tongue. 

Signs of Oral Cancer

It’s important for individuals to pay attention to any developing symptoms that are out of the ordinary. For example, some symptoms include persistent mouth sores, red or white patches, tenderness in mouth or lips, lumps in the throat, thick rough spots, crusty spots, or small eroded areas. More symptoms include difficulty chewing, swallowing, talking, or moving the tongue and jaw.

What to Know about Oral CancerSome individuals might even experience a shift in the way their teeth align together when they shut their mouth. Sometimes a persistent sore throat may develop, as well as numbness, hoarseness, and a change in vocal tone. If an individual is experiencing any of these symptoms for longer than two weeks, it’s important to get examined by a medical professional.

Detecting Oral Cancer 

When being examined by a dentist, individuals will be asked questions about their medical history to check for any changes or unusual symptoms. Next, dentists will do an inspection of the oral cavity, which includes all of the areas where symptoms could potentially develop. If dentists discover any symptoms that could potentially indicate oral cancer, they will refer the patient out for further testing. Before an individual is sent out for further testing, the dentist might re-examine the patient a week or two later to see if the questionable symptoms are healing on their own. 

Tips for Preventing Oral Cancer

The best way to help prevent oral cancer from developing is to be conscious of one’s health and to pay attention to any abnormalities. Unfortunately, studies have shown that men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer. However, avoiding alcohol, ridding of smoking habits, and maintaining a healthy diet can decrease one’s chances of developing the illness. 

At McBride Dental, it’s our priority to help our patients maintain a healthy smile and prevent any future oral complications. We advise our patients to commit to their regular checkups so that we can do a full inspection of their teeth, gums, and mouth. If patients mention any questionable symptoms, we continue with a more in-depth examination to search for any developing issues. To prevent future oral illnesses, we offer deep cleaning treatments, as well as homecare methods to maintain healthy teeth and gums. If you are interested in preventative care, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment.

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