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4 Facts You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

September 12, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — smilespecialist @ 2:25 pm
Woman in orange shirt in dentist's chair while they go look together at an x-ray of her teeth

When you think of oral health, you likely think of standard practices like brushing and flossing your teeth every day. These habits are intended to be preventative care to help avoid pitfalls like cavities or gum disease that can cause major issues if left untreated. Did you know, though, that oral cancer is also a major cause for concern? Keep reading to learn 4 facts that everyone should know!

Fact #1: Oral Health Involves More Than Teeth!

More than just your teeth and gums impact your oral health. Oral cancer is a term that is generally used to refer to one of two types of conditions:

  1. Oral cavity cancer. This impacts the front part of the mouth including the tongue, floor of the mouth, inside of the cheeks, and lips.
  2. Oropharyngeal cancer. The back of the mouth, tonsils, back of the tongue, larynx, and upper throat can also develop cancerous cells.

As you can see, both of these types can affect our mouths in ways that don’t necessarily involve our pearly whites!

Fact #2: You Can Decrease The Odds of Getting Oral Cancer

Certain lifestyle factors can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. More specifically, tobacco and alcohol use are common contributors. In adults 50 years or older who have been diagnosed, about 75% reported a history of using tobacco products. Alcohol consumption can also increase your odds of contracting cancer, as those who smoked and drank were at 15 times the risk! The good news is that by curbing these habits, you can greatly decrease your chances of getting oral cancer.

Fact #3: Oral Cancer Can Be Hard To Detect

You would think something as damaging as cancer would be easily noticed, but that’s not always the case. Unfortunately, early signs are often missed. Some signs to look out for include:

  • A flat white or red patch in your mouth.
  • A lip or mouth sore.
  • A lump in your mouth or neck.
  • Discomfort when swallowing.
  • A hoarse voice that lasts for a long time.

Some of these symptoms can be attributed to other causes like the common cold, and so the cancer goes unseen until it progresses, making it especially dangerous!

Fact #4: Your Dentist Can Catch Oral Cancer

Because it’s so tricky to spot, it’s important to regularly see your dentist. Two appointments a year are standard for basic preventative care. Your dentist has the expertise and instruments necessary to catch the early signs of oral cancer. These screenings are considered part of the standard exam that they do each visit. That means you’re doing your health a huge favor by keeping up with your dental appointments!

Timing can be everything! By looking for the warning signs and keeping up with a regular dental schedule, you are more likely to catch oral cancer before it evolves and causes further damage. Don’t wait! Make an appointment today and your whole body will thank you.

About the Practice

Our dentists at Alberto J. Lamberti DMD believe in providing beautiful smiles with a focus on individualized patient treatment. Our friendly and dedicated staff make it easy for you to schedule your bi-annual appointment. We want to leave knowing that your entire mouth is healthy and happy! If you would like to make an appointment, you are welcome to request one on the website or by calling (561) 338-7535.

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