Mouth Cancer – What it is & How to Prevent it
According to the Mayo Clinic, mouth or oral cancer develops in any part of the mouth.
Your dentist is your first line of defense and detection. Unlike your regular doctor, your dentist is constantly working on your mouth. Though we observe Oral Cancer Month every April, our patients should be on the look out for these signs and symptoms all year round.
- A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal
- A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth
- Loose teeth
- A growth or lump inside your mouth
- Mouth pain
- difficulty swallowing
If any signs persist for over two weeks, contact your doctor or dentist.
- Mouth cancers form when cells on the lips or in the mouth develop changes or mutations in their DNA.
- Mouth cancers begin in the flat, thin cells (squamous cells) that line your lips and the inside of your mouth.
- Tobacco use of any kind, including:
- Chewing tobacco
- And vaping
- Heavy alcohol use
- Excessive sun exposure to your lips
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- A weakened immune system
How to reduce your risk of mouth cancer:
- Stop using tobacco – If you don’t smoke, don’t start
- Using tobacco exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals
- Moderate your drinking – or stop drinking alcohol
- Excessive alcohol use can irritate the cells in your mouth.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure to your lips
- Stay in the shade
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat
- Apply sunscreen lip products
- Most importantly, see your dentist regularly. As part of a routine dental examination, ask your dentist to inspect your mouth for signs of mouth cancer.
If it has been a while since your last check-up or if you’re new to the area and looking for a family dentist, give us a call today at (931) 647-2243. We love new patients at Richview Family Dentistry!