Learn More About Mouth Cancer Awareness Month
November is when we celebrate Thanksgiving and spend time with loved ones, and it is also the month we recognize Mouth Cancer Awareness. This month is dedicated to the knowledge and awareness of oral and mouth cancers. Mouth cancer is any cancer cells found on the lips, tongue, cheek, and gums. We stress the importance of routine oral care not only to look for decay, but also because we check for signs of mouth cancer during your appointment.
Check Your Mouth Between Appointments
We usually see our patients only two or three times a year, so we encourage everyone to be mindful of any changes to their oral health. Be sure that you are regularly looking for lumps or swelling on your face and lips. We also suggest using your finger to feel the upper part of your mouth, tongue, and cheeks. Inside your mouth, look for any visual changes. You want to look for problems such as changes in the color or texture of your tongue. You may notice problems such as:
- Mouth ulcers that do not heal
- Red and white patches on the tongue or inside the cheeks
- Changes in color of the lips and tongue
Unfortunately, you may be contributing to your likelihood of developing mouth cancer in the future. There are a number of risk factors to be mindful of when living your daily life. While these factors do not always contribute to a mouth cancer diagnosis, being aware can allow for necessary healthy changes to your lifestyle to help avoid a problem in the future. These risk factors include:
- Smoking and using any kind of tobacco
- An unhealthy diet
- Not using sunscreen your lips
- Visiting tanning beds
Early detection is key to successful treatment, so it is important to be mindful of your oral health and any changes. If you notice a problem mentioned above or it has been some time since your last oral hygiene examination, now is a great time to schedule an appointment. If you are in Bowie, MD or the surrounding area, be sure to contact our office, and we will help. I hope to see you soon!