Important Information To Know About Oral Cancer
Have you visited the dentist recently? At Vargas Dental Associates, we recommend that our patients visit our office every six months for a routine hygiene examination. During those appointments, we of course thoroughly clean teeth and inspect them for any signs of decay, but we also inspect for other illnesses that can affect oral and overall health. One of the illnesses we look for is oral cancer. Oral cancer is cancer that develops in any part of the mouth.
Where Can Oral Cancer Appear?
Patients may think that oral cancer can only appear on the inside of the mouth, but that is untrue. Oral cancer can be separated into two categories. The first includes any area inside the oral cavity, which means the tongue, cheeks, lips, gums, the floor and roof of the mouth, and the first part of the tongue closest to the front of the mouth. The second area includes the back of the tongue, the throat, and the sinuses.
Signs of Oral Cancer
There are a number of warning signs that you can be mindful of between your biannual appointments:
- Discomfort or tenderness in the gums, cheeks, or tongue
- A change in your bite when you close your mouth
- A sore or irritated area that does not heal
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- A lump or rough spot in the mouth
- Feeling that something is stuck in your throat
- Constantly hoarse voice
How to Prevent Oral Cancer
One of the leading causes of oral cancer is smoking and tobacco use. The American Cancer Society also labels men and people 55 years and older at a higher risk. The best way to prevent oral cancer is to monitor your health at home. Do not use tobacco products and be mindful of your alcohol intake. It is also imperative that you are diligent about visiting our office every six months, especially if you are at a higher risk.
If you have any questions about oral cancer screenings or would like more information, please contact our office located in Bowie, MD today. We are more than happy to help you.