Oral Cancer Awareness Month is dedicated to raising awareness about a type of cancer that is often overlooked. Dentists are often the first to notice the signs of oral cancer. This disease affects the tongue and other parts of the mouth, and is typically found in smokers. If caught early, it is very treatable, but since it’s a type of cancer that is not usually noticed by the patient, it is often not discovered until later stages.
However, dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants are all trained to spot signs or symptoms of oral cancer. Little white spots in the mouth is a common sign of oral cancer; however, since they are usually painless, most people do not notice it.
Other symptoms include:
- Sores that do not heal or bleed
- Pain or numbness in the lips of mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Odd color changes in oral tissue
Oral Cancer Screenings by Your Dentist
Early diagnosis is optimal for treating this disease. Dentists are trained to spot signs of oral cancer, and self-examinations for oral cancer is actually quite hard to do. This is why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly, and to discuss any symptoms or changes in your mouth with your dentist at your appointment.
Oral cancer is most common in smokers, people who use alcohol on a regular basis, and people who chew tobacco. If you use tobacco or regularly drink alcohol, it is very important that you see your dentist on a regular basis. Oral cancer is also being detected in younger populations who do not use tobacco, and some researchers believe there is a connection now between HPV and oral cancer.
Schedule an appointment at Stratman Family Dentistry today for a dental check-up or a dental cleaning. Discuss any questions you have about oral cancer with our friendly staff.