Your dentist is your first line of defense in catching oral cancer early. Unfortunately, oral (or mouth) cancer affects about 42,000 people in the US each year. That’s why we want you to know the risks and the signs to keep you and your mouth healthy.
You could be at risk for oral cancer if you:
- Smoke cigarette, cigars or pipes
- Use smokeless like snuff or chewing tobacco
- Drink alcohol regularly
- Sunburn your lips often
- Have human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted virus
- Are over age 40
- Have a family history of cancer
One of the real dangers of this cancer, is that can be painless and go unnoticed. The good news is your dentist can often see or feel signs of actual cancer while it is still in its earliest stages.
Here are some symptoms of oral cancer:
- Swelling, lumps, or rough spots on the lips, gums or inside your mouth
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Numbness, loss of feeling or pain/tenderness in your face, mouth, neck or ears
- Sores on the face, neck or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
- Soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat or a change in your voice
- A change in your bit or how your dentures fit
If you have any of these risk factors or have any of the symptoms of oral cancer, please contact our team at The Smile Spa of Baton Rouge. A simple screening for this disease could save your life.