Although Oral Cancer Awareness Month is in April, the UK uses November for their Mouth Cancer Awareness campaign to take action. Lately, the U.S. has been experiencing a boost in cases of oral cancer, with even formerly low-risk groups such as non-smokers and teenagers facing a heightened risk for the disease.
Oral cancer can be found on the roof or floor of the mouth, inner cheek lining, gums, lips, and tongue.
Most individuals aren’t even aware of their condition until it has become more severe and late-stage. Left untreated the illness can spread throughout the rest of the body and even have fatal consequences, which is why regular oral cancer screenings are so important.
One of the most dangerous realities of oral cancer is that people often overlook its warning signs.
If you are constantly experiencing any of the following, bring up your concerns with a dentist:
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Soreness or lumps in the neck area
- Sores inside the mouth that won’t go away
- Tongue pain
- A persistent sore throat
- Pain inside the mouth or near the ear area
While oral cancer can affect anyone, certain demographics are at a higher risk for the disease than others:
- Tobacco users and heavy alcohol drinkers
- Men (men are twice as likely as women to contract oral cancer than women, and those odds jump even higher after age 50)
- Those with a family history of oral cancer
- HPV infected individuals
- People with poor dietary habits
- Individuals with weak immune systems
If any of these describe you, it’s wise to schedule dental appointments more frequently than the suggested bi-annual visit. If you have a family history of oral cancer, we recommend scheduling a dental check-up at least every three months.
Schedule a Screening
Prevention and early detection are the most effective ways to combat oral cancer. Healthy habits, including regular dental visits, are a key component to maintaining your oral health. Remember: when you are concerned about your health, it never hurts to reach out to a medical professional.
At Dentistry at East Piedmont, we offer a complimentary oral cancer screening with every new patient exam. If you’d like to find out more about Oral Cancer Awareness Month, please call 770-609-4544 or contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Blog originally published April 2018 — updated November 2021.