Did you know April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month?

Those at Risk for Oral Cancer 

Passing certain age thresholds and engaging in certain lifestyle habits can place you at increased risk for oral cancer. For example, men tend to have a higher rates of oral cancers than women. 

Here is the short list:

-Patients age 40 and older (95% of all oral cancer cases)

-Pateints age 19-39 who use tobacco, are heavy drinkers, or may have a previously diagnosed oral HPV infection 

Warning Signs 

If you experience any of the below symptoms lasting more than 7-10 days, please seek the advice of your doctor. Also, Keep in mind that aside from an obviously sore throat, the below symptoms can present themselves in the absence of pain. Look out for changes that can be detected on the lips inside the cheek, palate and gum tissue surrounding your teeth and tongue. 

Here at Smile by design we have  helped a few patients detect early signs of Oral cancer 

-Reddish or Whitsh patches in the mouth 

-A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily 

-A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth

-Chronic sore throator hoarseness 

-Difficulty chewing or swallowing 

Reducing Risk 

If you do not visit the dentist regularly, you could be missing out on the benefits of early cancer detection. Currently, just over half of all those diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years- a statistic driven by late diagnosis- so please visit your dentist and get an oral exam at least once a year. If you are considered " high risk," you should be recieving an oral exam at least every six months, if not more frequently. 

Below is a short list of healthy habits you can start doing now which may reduce your risk. 

-Avoid all tobacco products 

-Avoid or reduce your consumption of alcohol 

-Consume more fruit and vegetables (good for everything, of course) 

-Avoid excessive sun exposure than can result in cancer of the lip (using lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 can be helpful)

-Avoid exposure to enviromental hazards (wood dust, formaldehyd, printing chemicals)

-Conduct a self-exam monthly so you can catch any of the symptoms listed above. Use a small hand-held mirror so you can see the back of your mouth and tongue " Jessica or Bibi" our hygienist are great people to ask for instructions on this sort of home exam. If you haven't been to us in a while, give us a ring at 954-217-1411, and we'll show you how to perform this exam in between visits.

-Consider coffee. While the jury is still out, some research suggests coffee may help protect the mouth from oral cancer. Oral cancer is serious business. Yet, it can be managed when caught early. So, do the right thing and visit your dentist regularly, and get that screening.

Author
Dr. John M. Garcia D.D.S. Dr. Garcia graduated from Georgetown University Dental School in Washington, DC in 1988. While there, he earned honors from the Department of Fixed Prosthodontics. He then studied at the highly acclaimed Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Studies. While there, he learned more highly detailed techniques for the whole masticatory system. Dr. Garcia also trained in the Dawson Philosophy of Occlusion and the Concept of Complete Dentistry, both of which he now follows. Dr. Garcia has been in private practice as a dentist since 1990, and he strives to keep up with the latest advances in the dental field so he can offer the most effective and advanced care to his patients. Dr. Garcia specializes in helping patients improve their smile through skilled dental care and the latest technological advances in the world of dentistry.

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