During your six month dental exams your dentist will look for any signs of oral cancer. Your chances of surviving an oral cancer diagnosis double with early detection, emphasizing the importance of keeping those bi-annual dental appointments.
So who is at risk for head and neck cancers, most of which originate in the mouth? A recent article in the Journal of American Dental Association (April 2016) reports that patients who use tobacco products, drink more than 4 drinks a day, combine alcohol and tobacco products, use paan (a preparation combining the betel leaf with areca nut), eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables, and those who spend long periods in the sun are at greater risk of developing oral cancers. The sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) is another risk factor that affects tissues in the back of the throat, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils.
In between trips to the dentist , you can watch for these signs of potential oral cancer: sores that will not heal in the lips or mouth, red or white patches in the mouth, pain, tenderness, or numbness on the lips or in the mouth, a lump, thickening, or crusty spot in the mouth, difficulty chewing, cough or sore throat that will not go away, trouble swallowing, or hoarseness in your voice. Coupled with a thorough exam by your dentist every six months and your own self-exams, you can avoid becoming an unfortunate statistic. If you would like to discuss any symptoms that are worrying you, please feel free to call the Pike Creek dental office of Dr. Mark Gladnick at 302.994.2660