Cancer is a horrible disease that deprives a person of the chance to live a healthy and happy life. It can strike any part of your body, including your mouth. Yes, there is such a thing as oral cancer, although it is not as widely known or common as the other types (about 2% of all diagnosed cancers). Regardless, however, it is potentially just as life-threatening.
There are ways to keep oral cancer from launching a full-blown attack against your body, though. With regular checkups by your Sacramento dentist, you improve your chances of detecting oral cancer early, and thereby treating it before it is too late.
Early Signs of Oral Cancer
The first signs of mouth cancer can include: mouth ulcers that don’t heal, progressive or unusual swelling of surfaces like gums or the tongue, sudden loosening of a tooth, and unusual oral bleeding or prolonged hoarseness.
It is also common in those suffering from the onset of oral cancer to feel discomfort in their throat, as if there was an object or a lump stuck in it. Eventually, symptoms may include pain in the ears, although this discomfort does not necessarily result in hearing loss.
Causes of Oral Cancer
As of yet, there is no one clear, definitive cause or trigger for oral cancer. What is certain, however, is that there are certain factors that can pave the way for its development. Smoking tobacco products (including cigarettes, pipes and cigars), for example, has been found to be the biggest factor in increasing the risk of contracting oral cancer.
Excessive consumption of alcohol can also increase the risk, and even more so if you both drink excessively and smoke. Even diet can be a factor in the cancer’s development. That’s why it’s important for you to choose the right kinds of food to eat. We all know the importance of proper nutrition for overall health. But not having enough nutrition from fruits and vegetables can also make you more susceptible to oral cancer.
Prevention and Early Detection
Ideally, you should remain vigilant about your oral health and take appropriate preventative measures. Practicing good oral hygiene is one of the easiest and most effective ways to mitigate the risks of oral cancer. Improving your lifestyle and avoiding bad eating, drinking and smoking habits can also go a long way toward keeping you free of this frightening and potentially deadly condition.
Of course, you should make it a point to regularly go for a dental checkup, as well. Your dentist in Sacramento, like Dr. Monica Crooks, DDS, can make sure that you are clear of any symptoms of oral cancer.
Given that oral cancer is 2.5 times higher in those with periodontal disease and is 60 times higher in people with six or more missing teeth, it is particularly important to see your dentist regularly.
Dr. Crooks knows exactly what to look for and can help you to catch the disease immediately. If your oral cancer is detected early, the good news is that this type of cancer is very treatable and most people enjoy a full recovery.
Oral Cancer: Early Detection, Diagnosis and Staging. Oral Cancer Foundation.
Early Signs of Mouth Cancer. Colgate.