Given that April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, this is a fitting time to talk about how you can prevent this dreadful disease from developing through maintaining preventive care visits to your dentist, and practicing excellent oral hygiene. Read on to learn more about how you and your dentist can work together to ensure your oral health for years to come.
What’s the Purpose of Oral Cancer Awareness Month?
The month of April is a time to bring awareness to the dangers of oral cancer. Each year more than 21,000 men and 9,000 women receive a diagnosis of this disease. The condition begins in the cells that cover the surfaces of the mouth, tongue and lips and spread if not detected and treated in time.
Here are some factors that increase your chances of developing this condition:
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Infection with human papillomavirus
- Sun over-exposure
- Diet high in processed foods
Each of these contributing factors can easily be corrected of prevented.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Be on guard for these symptoms, as they can be warning signs of oral cancer:
- Patches inside the mouth or the lips
- Sores in the mouth or on the lips that don’t heal
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Lump in the neck
- Numbness of the lower lip or chin
- Persistent earache
If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to reach out to your dentist immediately.
Defend Yourself Against Oral Cancer!
Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself against oral cancer. One of them is to practice excellent oral hygiene on a consistent basis. By brushing and flossing at least two times a day, you can eliminate a great deal of the bacteria that contribute to the development of gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to oral cancer.
Another avenue available to you is to work in concert with your dentist by maintaining regular visits for checkups. While there, your local professional will run a full screening to make sure that you’re not exhibiting any of the signs of oral cancer.
In addition, you’ll receive a thorough cleaning to rid your teeth of any harmful plaque and tartar that may have built-up over time. Thus, you’ll leave the office with beautiful yet healthy teeth.
So to do your part to commemorate Oral Cancer Awareness Month, take the proactive step of reaching out to your Tyler dentist to schedule a visit today!
About the Author
Dr. Keith O. Gerber earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1993, receiving the Law and Ethics Award in Dentistry the same year. Since then, he’s gone on to provide over 20 years of expert and compassionate care to his patients. Still, he strives to expand his knowledge of the latest advancements by maintaining memberships in several professional organizations. Dr. Gerber practices at Gentle Dental Care and can be reached for more information through his website.