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5 Questions For Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a great time to raise awareness of the risk factors, prevention methods, and outcomes of this disease.

At least 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer or mouth cancer each year. This type of cancer often takes off an aggressive form killing at least one person per hour each day and giving most patients a 57% survival rate 5 years past their diagnosis.

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

As frightening as this type of cancer might sound, there is plenty you can do to lessen your chances of developing it. Maintaining good lifestyle habits, oral hygiene routine and education about this type of cancer can drastically reduce your chances of developing it. To help you learn more about this condition, our dental experts have addressed five common questions asked about oral cancer below:

  1. When Should I Get Tested?
    1. Most patients will get an oral cancer screening during their routine dental cleaning. While it’s strongly advised to pursue a dental cleaning once every 6 months, we recommend getting screened for oral cancer at least once per year by your dentist. Early detection of this disease is key to fighting it off and survival beyond the 57% survival rate.
  2. What Are The First Signs And Symptoms?
    1. The beginning stages of oral cancer might just seem like bad breath, an infected oral cavity, or a canker sore-like patch. It’s always good to get a suspicious-looking white or red patch in your mouth checked out, especially if that area does not heal or heal quickly over time.
    2. It’s also possible for those with this condition to experience swelling and pain in the ears, jaw, mouth, and face. A person might also have a sore throat that won’t go away or enlarged lymph nodes near the mouth or on their neck. Lung disease and lung cancer patients are also at an increased risk of developing this condition.
  3. Can Kids Get Oral Cancer?
    1. It is extremely rare for anyone under the age of 18 to develop oral cancer, but it’s not impossible. Even though several states have made it illegal for someone under the age of 18 to smoke nicotine products, many kids still partake in these habits. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to these products can heighten the risk of developing oral cancer, especially in children.
    2. In addition to first hand smoking, there are a few studies that have shown a child who is exposed to a significant amount of secondhand smoke also has an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
  4. Can Vaping Cause Oral Cancer?
    1. Yes, the carcinogens that exist in vaping products can also lead to the development of oral cancer. The effects of vaping devices and their contents are more concentrated than traditional cigarettes, which can lead to serious health problems like cancer sooner than expected.
  5. What Can I Do To Reduce The Risk Of Developing Oral Cancer?
    1. One of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer is to maintain good oral hygiene and avoid habits that could harm your teeth, tongue, and gums. Smoking and vaping are among the worst habits that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer, but they’re not the only causes.
    2. Skipping out on an annual exam or routine cleanings also means that cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems will go untreated. As these conditions worsen, they can also increase the risk of developing oral cancer.

Oral cancer is a serious disease that can be avoided through a good dental routine, regular cleanings, and by quitting your smoking habits. By educating yourself about the risks surrounding oral cancer, you’re also reducing your risk of letting it develop or go undetected in the future.

If you or a loved one begin to show potential symptoms of oral cancer, then you need to see a dental professional as soon as possible.

Schedule Your Annual Cleaning & Exam With Naperville Commons Dental

If it’s been more than six months since your last oral health exam and cleaning, then it’s time to schedule with our dentist at Naperville Commons Dental. To schedule your appointment, please contact our office now.

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