Dentists are on the frontlines of screening patients regularly for oral cancer. At Smile Design Dentistry locations throughout Florida, we are doing our part to raise awareness about oral cancer during the National Oral Cancer Awareness Month of April.
Our dentists and hygienists carefully examine your mouth every time you come for a dental checkup and dental cleaning. If you observe any of the following signs, between dental visits, that could be the beginning of a cancerous growth, call us for an immediate oral cancer screening:
- Reddish patches or whitish patches in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A rough spot, lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
- Numbness in the tongue or other part of the mouth
- Swelling of the jaw
- Unexplained pain facial or oral pain, although pain is not often associated with oral cancer
Please share this information and encourage your friends and family to have regular oral cancer screenings. Although most mouth and throat cancers have been associated with smoking and chewing tobacco, more than 25 percent of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally. The fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, otherwise healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection between oral cancer and the HPV virus.
Smile Design dentist, Dr. Dhiren Agrawal, reminds patients that “Oral cancer can progress from initial to advanced stage in a matter of 2-5 years, so it’s important to get oral cancer screenings annually for early detection and treatment. With early detection and treatment, survival rate increases.”
Anyone can get cancer of the face, mouth, throat, head or neck. Be observant and empowered to examine yourself every month. You can look inside your mouth with a hand-held mirror. Report changes you feel with your tongue. Keep in mind that the earlier oral cancer is detected, the better the treatment outcomes will be.