Oral cancer can occur anywhere in your mouth, including the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, and the roof and floor of the mouth. Frequently, oral cancer signs can be mistaken for simple medical problems and are often ignored. Mouth cancer can be fatal if not caught early and treated, so it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Sores in the mouth that don’t heal
- Thickening skin of the mouth
- White or red patches inside the mouth
- Loosening teeth
- Suddenly ill-fitting dentures
- Pain of the tongue
- Unusual jaw pain or stiffness
- Difficulty or pain chewing or swallowing
- Prolonged sore throat
- Unusual feeling of something caught in the throat
What truly causes oral cancers is unknown, but experts have narrowed down certain risk factors that contribute to developing mouth cancer:
- Smoking and other tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol abuse
- Overexposure to sun of the lips
- HPV, a sexually transmitted virus
It’s important to always update your dentist on your smoking and drinking habits.
When oral cancer is caught early and is capable of being treated, there are a few options available. Depending on where and how far along the cancer is, you may need to only do one treatment or a combination of the following:
- Surgery to remove existing tumors
- Surgery to reconstruct the mouth
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Drug Therapy
Always notify your dentist of any unusual sores or pain in your mouth and take preventative steps to limit your risk of oral cancer.
At Greenspoint Dental, we offer oral cancer screenings for our patients. If you feel you may be at risk or want to speak to an expert on more about your oral care, contact us today to make an appointment.