Every hour, one American loses the battle with oral cancer. In fact, oral cancer kills more people than liver, cervical, or testicular cancer. Recently, Michael Douglas shined a spotlight on this illness by revealing his own battle with the disease, after a malignant tumor was discovered at the base of his tongue, near the back of his throat.
Although men have as greater risk of developing oral cancer than women, and tobacco use increases your odds, 25 percent of oral cancer victims have no lifestyle risk factors.
You can follow these tips to keep your mouth healthy:
• Visit the dentist regularly. Your provider is trained to know what is normal and what isn’t. During your routine exam, the doctor will evaluate your teeth and gums, looking for anything out of the ordinary. At Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry, we also offer ViziLite Plus cancer screening. ViziLite Plus uses technology that helps the dentist identify soft tissue abnormalities that may develop into cancer.
• Watch for unusual signs. Common symptoms of oral cancer include unusual bumps or thickenings, unexplained bleeding in the mouth, hoarseness, and voice changes. Contact your dentist right away if you develop any of these symptoms.
• Cut out tobacco and alcohol. Smokers have six times the risk of developing oral cancer as non-smokers. As well, heavy drinking increases your chances of receiving an oral cancer diagnosis.
• Perform a self-exam. Early detection substantially improves your odds of survival with oral cancer, so examine your lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, and the roof of your mouth at least once a month.
• Limit sun exposure. When you do go outside, apply sunscreen to your lips for added protection against harmful UV rays.
It’s time for your dental check up at our Clintonville dental office.