Know Your Mouth — Oral Cancer Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention

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Know Your Mouth — Oral Cancer Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention

Oral cancer is more of a risk than many people know. It’s always important to understand how important your oral health is to the rest of your body and even your life. Going into the dentist regularly and getting an annual oral cancer screening can help keep you safe against oral cancer. Heed the warning signs, and do your best to prevent it. Early detection isn’t difficult. There is no reason to become overly preoccupied with oral cancer if you’re not at risk, but it is a serious disease that warrants attention.

What is an oral cancer screening?

Perhaps even the idea of a cancer screening can be a scary prospect. However, an oral cancer screening is actually much easier than you might think. It requires no in-depth x-rays or machines. It can typically be performed in under 3 minutes by your dentist at your next checkup.

All that is needed is a thorough review of your oral health history and your overall health history. Overall health and oral health are inevitably linked. Your dentist will ask you questions concerning your risk for oral cancer. After a short discussion about your health history, a short physical examination of your mouth and throat will follow. Your dentist will be looking for any abnormalities, lumps, white spots, or sores.

Signs, Symptoms & Prevention

If you are experiencing anything strange or abnormal when it comes to your oral health, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. Especially troubling symptoms are as follows:

  • Chronic sore throat
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that do not heal
  • Hoarseness
  • A change in the way your dentures fit
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Suspicious lumps found by palpating your mouth, jaw, and neck

If you want to help prevent oral cancer, there are practical things you can do. The first of which would be to stop using tobacco in all its forms. Smoking and chewing tobacco are strongly linked with oral cancer. Limiting alcohol usage, maintaining a healthy diet, and practicing safe sex can also help you to avoid any unnecessary run-in with oral cancer.