Maintaining good oral health is essential for living a healthy lifestyle. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, about 36,500 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Look for these early warning signs of oral cancer and avoid these harmful habits.
Some early signs of oral cancer can include ongoing irritation or soreness in the throat, feeling a lump or something blocking the throat, or any swelling or pain associated with moving the tongue or jaw. Difficulty swallowing or chewing can be a cause for concern. Any hoarseness or numbness in the throat or mouth might also be an early warning sign. If you experience any of these symptoms for two or more weeks, contact your oral health professional for a consultation.Lesions in the throat or mouth can also be early warning signs of oral cancer. Strange red or white bumps that don’t go away on their own after two weeks should be evaluated and tested for cancer.
Going to your dentist can be a great way to rule out certain possibilities. A thorough examination of the throat, neck and mouth should be included in your typical physical or dental visit. Talk to your doctor about any discomfort you might’ve been feeling in the last few weeks. Be honest with your doctor about your lifestyle, bad habits, family history, etc. Don’t leave out important information that might aide your doctor in diagnosing your condition.
Early detection of oral cancer can save lives and dramatically improve your chances of recovering. Regular trips to the dentist and oral cancer screenings can help you find the warning signs. Any unhealthy tissue in the mouth or throat can easily be detected. If you think you might have oral cancer, don’t wait until it spreads. Stay up-to-date with any changes in your body and don’t be afraid to reach out.
There are plenty of bad habits to avoid that can help prevent oral cancer. Excessive use of tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco can lead to oral cancer. Heavy drinking on a regular basis will also make you more prone to the disease. Using alcohol and tobacco together will put you at a much greater risk than using either substance on its own. Other causes of oral cancer include too much sun exposure to the lips, contracting HPV, and a poor diet that’s low in fruits and vegetables. Those over the age of 40 also see an increase in risk.
Stay ahead of oral cancer with regular screenings and a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor today if you have any concerns.