What To Know About Oral Cancer

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One person is answering question. He is at risk for oral cancer.

In last week’s blog, we discussed situations in which a dental extraction may be your best bet to preserving your oral health. In fact, there are what feels like countless threats to your smile that require consistent care to avoid, and sometimes it can take something as simple as sun exposure to cause significant damage. The month of April is oral cancer awareness month, and as such, your Prairie Village, KS prosthodontist has dedicated today’s blog to discuss the potential threats and damage it can cause to your health, as well as look at steps you can take to minimize your risk.

A Bigger Concern Than You Think

When it comes to the thought of oral cancer, there is often a common misconception that it is not a major concern to worry about if you do not use tobacco products. While the use of tobacco is certainly a contributing factor to increased risk, it is not the only one. In fact, this phenomenon can affect anyone of any age, including young children, older adults, and any person in-between.

Oral or mouth cancer occurs when the cells contained within oral tissues mutate, resulting in their excessive growth and division as opposed to their death as a healthy cell would in the standard cell cycle. What’s more, these mutations can occur in any region of the oral cavity, including the throat, roof of the mouth, the floor of the mouth, gums, lips, cheeks, and tongue.

What to Look Out For

Even though a definitive cause for these mutations has yet to be determined, there are a number of circumstances that may exacerbate the process. For example, the use of tobacco products has been proven to increase the chances of developing oral cancer. Excessive sun exposure to the lips, excessive consumption of alcohol, and transmission of the human papillomavirus have also been cited to increase these chances.

When an individual experiences oral cancer, it can present itself in a number of ways. For example, signs might include mouth pain, ear pain, or a noticeable growth or abnormality present within the mouth. It may also take the form of difficult or painful swallowing, loosened teeth, sores on the lips that do not seem to heal, and a rough red or white patch. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please do not hesitate to contact our team today.

Steps You Can Take to Help

While there has yet to be a determined prevention method for oral cancer, there are a few practices you can participate in the reduce your chances. For instance, you can ask your dentist about an oral cancer screening that is typically performed during your routine checkup and cleaning.  In addition to this, reduction of alcohol consumption, avoidance of excessive sunlight exposure, and cessation of tobacco use have all been proven to reduce your chances of developing the concern.

Schedule Your Appointment

Contact Dr. Stuart Dexter, Prosthodontist in Prairie Village, KS by calling 913-362-8200 to learn more about the dangers of mouth cancer and what you can do to reduce your risk.