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Raising Oral Cancer Awareness

Did you know that April each year is observed as National Oral Cancer Awareness Month?

According to The American Dental Association (ADA), says the survival rate is much lower than some other common cancers like Hodgkin’s lymphoma and colon cancer. The mortality rate associated with oral cancer is high because it is mostly discovered quite late. Unfortunately, this is due to the fact that its symptoms may mirror other common problems.

Oral cancer awareness banner

What is Oral Cancer?

To simply explain, cancers developing in any part of the mouth such as the inside of the mouth, tonsils, throat, lips, gums, tongue or cheeks is classified as oral cancer.

What causes oral cancer?

Over the last few decades, our lifestyle has become extremely fast paced. This has an impact on not only our oral habits (good or bad), but also the environment that we function in.

Primary reasons:

  • Smoking
  • High consumption of alcohol
  • Human Papilloma Virus 16

Secondary reasons:

  • Aging
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Lack of fruit and vegetable consumption

Symptoms of oral cancer:

Oral cancer begins with symptoms that are easy to identify, provided they are not ignored and screened during your routine dental check ups.

At Fresh Dental, we look for these symptoms during patient screening:

  • A sore that lasts for a long time and does not heal despite medication.
  • Bleeding in your mouth
  • Hoarseness in your voice that doesn’t go away
  • Red or white patches in your mouth
  • Constant pain in your ears
  • Hardening of mouth tissues
  • Numbness in the tongue or lips
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth, chewing or talking.

Here are some tips to be preventative

  • Consider quitting the use of tobacco
  • Consume alcohol in moderation
  • Limit your exposure to excessive sunlight. Use sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Consume a healthy, balanced diet especially consisting of cancer fighting foods like cabbage, broccoli, beans, tomatoes etc.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene at home. Brush and floss regularly using good quality instruments and toothpaste.
  • Spread awareness amongst your family members and friends and encourage them to be proactive when it comes to prevention and seeking expert medical guidance.

FRESHDental believes that no one is too young or too old to get screened. For the month of April, we will be offering complimentary oral cancer screening to anyone who is interested (you don’t have to be our patient).

Simply call any of our six offices across Charlotte to schedule a screening appointment.