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Drs. Grant and Conger
602 Main Street, Dalton, GA 30720

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Learning All About Oral Cancer

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It’s November, which means that it’s Mouth Cancer Action Month. This makes it the perfect time to learn a little about oral cancer. Despite the fact that oral cancer is something that is hard to diagnose yourself, it’s still important to know a little about the symptoms of oral cancer, as well as what can cause it. Having this knowledge can give you a fighting chance of overcoming oral cancer.

Oral cancer is something that has to be diagnosed by a professional. Thus, it’s essential that you see your local Dalton dentist on a regular basis. The dentist will be able to spot the early warning signs of oral cancer a lot sooner than you can identify it yourself. The sooner that you catch it, the better chance that you have of overcoming it.

If you’re worried that you might have oral cancer, we can help. Reach out to us today for an oral screening. We can spot any warning signs and begin treatment in a timely manner.

Explaining What Oral Cancer Is

The first thing that you need to know is what oral cancer is. Judging by the name, you can guess that this is cancer of the mouth. However, what you might not know is that oral cancer can include everything from the gums and tongue to the lips. Thus, it covers more than a lot of people know.

Another thing you might not know about oral cancer is that it’s very hard to detect. This is why oral cancer is so dangerous. In most cases, it comes across looking like mouth sores that won’t heal. Typically, people ignore these problems and assume that they’re nothing to worry about. This can be a problem as oral cancer spreads fast in its early stages.

For this reason, it’s vital for you to visit your dentist on a regular basis. Only your Dalton dentist will be able to spot the early warning signs of oral cancer. This can make it easier to treat oral cancer before it spreads to other areas of the body. The sooner that you get treatment for oral cancer, the easier that it is to treat.

Noticing the Signs of Oral Cancer

Knowing the symptoms of oral cancer can help you in early detection. Unfortunately, oral cancer isn’t something that is easy for you to detect on your own. Typically, it’s mistaken for other oral health issues and not taken seriously. Thus, your best bet for early detection is to have your dentist screen your mouth regularly. Thankfully, this is something that your dentist will do during your routine checkups.

However, there are a few warning signs that might tip you off that you need to go see your dentist right away. First, look for sores or ulcers in your mouth that won’t heal. These sores have usually been in your mouth for at least three weeks.

If you have braces, you might have sores that don’t heal as quickly. This is fine as these sores are caused by the braces, but you should still talk to your dentist about how often your braces are giving you sores.

Also, look for red or white patches inside the mouth. These can be tough to see but can indicate that something is wrong. Once again, there are a number of problems that can cause these patches to form, but one of them is oral cancer.

Knowing the Factors That Increase Your Risk of Oral Cancer

Sadly, there are some factors that increase your risk of oral cancer but that you simply can’t control. For example, genetics play a role in increasing your risk of getting this type of cancer. If you have a family member that has had oral cancer before, you’re at a greater risk. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get it, but it does increase the risk.

Also, men are more likely to get oral cancer than women. Likewise, the risk of oral cancer goes up if you are over the age of 45. Thankfully, there are some factors that you can control.

Don’t Use Tobacco Products

If you want to significantly lower your risk of getting oral cancer, don’t use tobacco products. Studies show that two out of every three oral cancer cases are linked to tobacco in one way or another. This doesn’t just include smoking either, it includes the use of chewing tobacco as well.

Don’t Drink Heavily

Having a few drinks during the week is fine. In fact, you can have a couple of drinks every day. However, you should avoid drinking heavily if you want to avoid oral cancer. Studies show that people who have more than 21 alcoholic drinks in a week are at a higher risk of developing it. The risk isn’t as great as if you are smoking, but it’s still there.

Don’t Stay Out in the Sun Too Long

Did you know that your lips can get sunburned? It’s true, and it’s something that a lot of people don’t know or don’t think about. They often put on sunblock when they go outside, but few do anything to protect their lips.

Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to the sun can make your lips burn, which does increase your chances of oral cancer. The next time that you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, consider putting on some lip balm that has SPF in it.

Treating Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is treated much like any other type of cancer. If it’s caught soon enough, you could just remove the affected tissue. If it’s not caught soon enough and spreads, you might have to undergo chemotherapy as well.

Getting Help to Catch Oral Cancer

Are you worried about oral cancer? If so, we can examine you and your family members. When you come in for an oral examination, we not only clean your teeth but also examine your mouth for cancerous signs. The goal is to catch issues quickly so that we can deal with them before the cancer spreads. Reach out to us today, and schedule your first appointment.

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Drs. Grant and Conger

602 Main Street, Dalton, GA 30720

(706) 847-4165