Get the Facts about Oral CancerAccording to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that over 40,000 people in the United States received a diagnosis of oral cancer, and that’s just for 2014. Oral cancer can strike any part of the mouth, so that means it can affect the throat (pharynx), your sinuses, the hard and soft palate of your mouth, the floor of your mouth, as well as your tongue, cheeks, and lips. Men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer than women, and the risk of oral cancer increases with age, so it is important to remain vigilant and aware of the risks and the symptoms.

While the thought of developing cancer can be scary for many, oral cancer is 100% curable if it is discovered early in the first stage. With proper awareness the lives of many can be saved. Want to help protect yourself from developing oral cancer? Read on to get the facts about oral cancer and for some tips that will help aid you in the prevention of this disease:

1. Be Healthy

Eating and living a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating right is one of the best methods for prevention, as well as limiting your consumption of alcohol and not smoking. Be sure to limit your sugar intake, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may help you reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. However, please note that it is wise to not eat foods that are too hot for your mouth to handle, as this can help create lesions in the mouth.

2. Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Having a dirty mouth can make your mouth not only vulnerable to tooth decay, but it also increases your chances for oral cancer. Your mouth is a mirror to the rest of your body, so a dirty mouth can suppress your body’s immune system, which will make it difficult to fight off cancerous cells from forming. To help in the fight against a dirty mouth, make sure that you brush and floss your teeth regularly.

3. Protect Yourself from the Sun

We all know to wear sunscreen on our skin when we go out in order to help protect ourselves from the harmful UV rays of the sun. However, many tend to skimp on the lip protection. Repeated exposure to the sun can increase your risk of cancer on the lips, especially on your lower lip. You can purchase lipstick size tubes of sunscreen that is specially designed for the lips, just be sure that it offers UV-A/B blocking sun protection!

4. See Your Dentist

It is recommended to see a dentist for annual dental checkups that also provides screening for oral cancer. Annual checkups and screenings is a good way to stay on top of your health and will allow you a better chance of recovery if a problem is caught early on. However, we realize that some may avoid the dentist until the last second due to dental phobias; if this is the case, check out our past article on how to handle your dental phobia.

5. Understand the Symptoms

Being aware and having knowledge on what to look out for can help save your life. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a few weeks, do not delay in consulting with your dentist:

  • Unexplained mouth bleeding
  • Skin lesions, ulcers or lumps on the gums, lips, as well as on other areas inside the mouth
  • Have white, red or grey patches on the inside of the mouth
  • Numbness, or pain/tenderness in any areas of the mouth, face, or neck
  • Tongue pain
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together
  • Chronic sore throats, hoarseness, or change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • Difficultly chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Mouth sores
  • Dramatic weight loss

Here at DP5th, we perform oral cancer screenings that will help give you piece of mind. If you live in the NYC Metro area and are in need of a dentist that can attend to your needs, contact us to make an appointment.