The month of April is a great time to visit your Clarksville dentist to have a complete oral cancer screening done, because this is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Dentists around the country have designated this as a time to remind their patients to be proactive in combatting a disease that over 40,000 people will be diagnosed and at least 10,000 will succumb to this year. As you read along, he’ll explain how a simple preventive care visit can make a huge difference in your oral health.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a disease that results from the abnormal growth of mutated cells in the mouth and throat.
The following discusses how it manifests in both areas:
- Mouth – In the mouth, the disease can spread throughout the lips, cheek lining, teeth, gums, the front two-thirds of the tongue and the roof of the mouth.
- Throat – When in the throat, it can be found in the tonsils and at the base of the tongue (considered as part of the throat).
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The following are symptoms to be on the lookout for of oral cancer:
- A sore or irritated throat that doesn’t seem to get any better
- Red or white patches on the soft tissues in the mouth
- Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
Your Dentist Helps in Fighting Oral Cancer!
The fight against oral cancer is not a complicated one – it just requires a little discipline. A key asset available to help you in the battle are the semi-annual visits you make to your dentist for cleanings and checkups. While there, you’ll get a full cancer screening to make sure that you have a clean bill of health. This is vital because if there are traces of the disease, the earlier you and your dentist catch it and begin a treatment protocol, the better.
How Your Oral Hygiene Factors in Prevention
Researchers have found a connection between bacteria growth, gum disease and oral cancer. They unfold in a chain of events. First, bacteria growth occurs and, if not addressed, can lead to gum disease. The latter can then contribute to the onset of oral cancer.
A simple way to remove bacteria is through proper oral hygiene. Thus, brushing and flossing at least twice a day will provide you with greater protection.
Now that you are better informed about how to protect yourself, the next step is to take action. You can start with contacting your dentist to schedule a preventive care appointment today!
About the Author
With nearly 40 years of experience practicing dentistry, Dr. Stephen Fisher has helped guide many patients to a life of improved oral health. To fulfill his passion to provide the absolute best care, he has invested time and resources into attaining the best training and most technologically responsive equipment to keep up with the ever-changing world of dentistry. Dr. Fisher practices at Arkansas River Valley Dentistry and can be reached for more information through his website.