How Much Do You Know About Oral Cancer Risks and Symptoms?

With any type of disease, prevention is always by far the best approach and especially where your oral health is concerned. This is why we offer regular oral cancer screenings in Oshawa because when this disease is detected earlier, the chances of successfully treating it are significantly improved.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
There are several symptoms of oral cancer and which include:

  • Unexplained loss of feeling, numbness, tenderness or pain in your face, neck or mouth.
  • Having a persistent sore spot in your mouth, face or neck that bleeds easily and which doesn’t heal within a couple of weeks.
  • Feeling as if you have something caught in your throat, or that chewing, swallowing or speaking is trickier.
  • Noticing your voice has changed or feeling hoarse or having a chronic sore throat.
  • Developing a lump, bump, or swelling or thickened areas inside your mouth or on your lips or gums. The area may feel rough to the touch.
  • Developing red, white or speckled velvety patches in the mouth.
  • Your teeth might bite together differently, or dental appliances won’t fit as well

Who Is More at Risk of Getting Oral Cancer?
If you are male, your risk of getting oral cancer is twice as high as for females and is highest for men over the age of 50. Other risk factors include smoking or using any type of tobacco product. In fact, people who smoke cigarettes, a pipe or cigars are six times more likely to develop oral cancers compared with non-smokers. Smokeless tobacco also increases your risk of developing cancers on the gums, cheeks or inside your lips. People who drink too much alcohol are about six times more likely to develop oral cancer compared with non-drinkers.

Your family history also makes a difference, as does exposure to too much sun and especially when you are very young. Certain strains of the human papillomavirus are also thought to increase the risk of specific oral cancers. Even if you don’t have any known risk factors, you cannot afford to ignore this disease because approximately one-quarter of all oral cancers are diagnosed in people who don’t smoke and who only drink occasionally.

Diagnosing Oral Cancer
Here at Margolian Dentistry, we take the risk of oral cancer very seriously and have invested in advanced technology to help us detect any early signs of cancer more efficiently. To do this, we use a small handheld device called a VELscope. It works by emitting a blue light that is entirely harmless, but which causes the tissues inside your mouth to fluoresce. We are interested in the way these tissues fluoresce because healthy tissues have a very different pattern compared with diseased tissues.

This device is an extremely useful addition to visually examining your mouth, and the examination is completely painless and very quick. If we do spot anything suspicious, we can recommend the most suitable procedure to investigate further. When you first visit our dentist in Whitby, we can assess your risk of developing oral cancer to decide how frequently you will benefit from screenings.

You Can Help Keep Your Mouth Healthy too!
In addition to your regular screenings, there are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of developing oral cancer. Make sure you only drink alcohol in moderation and don’t use any type of tobacco products. Eat a well-balanced diet containing lots of vitamins and minerals, and if you sunbathe, use plenty of high-quality sunblock and especially on your lips.

Above all, if you notice anything is wrong in between checkups or feel at all concerned, please contact our dental office in Ajax. Our experienced dental team is here to care for you.

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