Preventing and Knowing the Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Preventing and Knowing the Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a disease that many people don’t understand. Lifestyle factors, certain foods, and oral care neglect are contributing factors of oral cancer. Thankfully, educating yourself about these issues can help prevent this disease. Protect the oral health of your loved ones by learning more about a disease that affects thousands of people every year.

What is Oral Cancer?
According to Mouth Healthy , oral cancer accounts for nearly 2.9% of all cancers in the United States. Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women. Oral cancer can occur in the oral cavity (teeth, gums, inside of the lips and cheeks, the front and middle portions of your tongue, and the roof and floor of your mouth) or in the oropharynx (throat, back of the tongue and tonsils).

What are Oral Cancer Symptoms?
According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM) , if any of the following symptoms occur and last for longer than two to three weeks, consult a dental professional.
Red or white patches in mouth or lips
Persistent irritation
Presence of a rough spot, lump, or crusted area
Difficulty moving jaw or tongue when speaking, chewing, or swallowing
A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

How are Oral Cancer and Human Papillomavirus 16 (HPV) connected?
While oral cancer is typically associated with older adults and individuals who are heavy drinkers and smokers, a steady rise of oral cancer diagnoses have been seen in younger, relatively healthy, and non-smoking individuals. The American Dental Association supports research that has attributed this to a connection to HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. HPV is most related to the increasing rates of oropharyngeal cancer among younger individuals, but it likely contributes to other factors that can cause oral cancer.

Preventing Oral Cancer
How can you prevent oral cancer? Similar to preventing other oral health concerns such as tooth decay, loss of teeth, and periodontal disease, you can take adopt the following habits to help prevent oral cancer concerns:
Refrain from all tobacco use
Limit alcohol use
Develop an oral healthcare routine, including brushing twice a day and flossing daily
Limit your intake of foods and beverages that are too sugary, sticky, and acidic. Maintain a diet of fruits and vegetables and healthy foods to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Schedule annual dental cleaning appointments and screenings for oral cancer. Due to its risk factor in oral cancer diagnoses, talk to your general physician about becoming vaccinated for HPV.
The best way to prevent oral cancer is to get regular checkups and dental cleanings. Get yourself screened for oral and oropharyngeal cancer, and dedicate yourself to hygienic oral healthcare habits. Schedule a visit with Medical Arts Dental to take charge of your oral health.