Did you know that April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month? As part of your routine dental checkup, oral cancer screenings are typically done by our dentist. When you come in for a dental checkup, we look for cavities, signs of gum disease and any signs of abnormalities in the oral cavity, including oral cancer. In fact, in the year 2018 over 51,000 people will likely be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer, so detecting problems early is more important than ever.
Cancer happens in the body when abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and are malignant or cancerous. Oral cancer can affect a range of areas, including the lower lip, your salivary glands, esophagus, the back of the throat, the tongue, inside of the mouth, your tonsils–basically any soft tissue in your mouth.
Oral cancer screenings are important because successfully treating cancer increases with early diagnosis. Oral cancer may appear as a white or red sore in the mouth. You should be on the lookout for abnormal changes in the soft tissues of your mouth that don’t go away on their own within a couple of weeks.
Symptoms may also include sores that bleed easily and won’t heal, a lump in the cheek, numbness in any area of your mouth, having trouble chewing and swallowing, swelling of the jaw, or a change in your voice.
What else can you do to help keep cancer at bay? Don’t use tobacco products, avoid drinking alcohol excessively, and wear protective sunscreen on your lips when you are out and about. Also be sure to see our dentist twice a year for checkups.
If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health, we encourage you to give our team a call at 614-656-4379 to schedule an appointment with our dentist, Dr. Timothy Backiewicz. Our New Albany Family Dentistry team in New Albany, Ohio, is here to help you maintain a healthy smile all year round!