Oral cancer isn’t always easy to catch in its beginning stages. That’s why scheduling routine visits at our K Street Dental & Orthodontic Group practice is vital to your oral health. We’re a professional team of oral cancer specialists who can perform examinations to ensure you have a healthy mouth.
We also want you to know what signs to look for so you can get the immediate dental care you need.
Symptoms of oral cancer
We can catch most signs of oral cancer during your routine dental visits, but you should also pay close attention to your oral health to detect any symptoms on your own.
Symptoms aren’t the same for everyone. You might notice sores in your mouth that won’t go away. Or you might have white or red patches on your gums, the lining of your mouth, or on your tonsils.
Here are five signs to watch for:
- Constant bad breath
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Constant sore throat
- Lump in your cheek
- Swelling of your jaw
You might also experience weight loss or difficulty moving your jaw or tongue.
Causes of oral cancer
Several factors play a role in the development of oral cancer. Here are some of the ways you’re at risk:
Whether you smoke cigars, pipes, or cigarettes, or if you chew tobacco, they are all well-known pathways to developing oral cancer.
Too much alcohol consumption is linked to oral cancer. If tobacco use is another component of drinking, your risk increases.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is usually the instigator of cancers found in the back of your throat, the base of your tongue, and on your tonsils.
Excessive sun exposure
You might be surprised to learn the importance of sunscreen for your lips. When your lips are overexposed to the sun, you run the risk of developing oral cancer.
The risk of developing oral cancer also increases when you’re 45 or older, have had radiation exposure, and have had other types of cancer in your head and neck.
Reducing your risks
The good news is that oral cancers are among the most preventable. To stay ahead of the game, don’t start smoking, or quit if you do. Other ways to minimize your risk include:
- Wear SPF lip balm
- Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables
- Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, if you drink
- Remove your dentures at night, and clean them every day
- Practice good oral hygiene
We’re professional dental advocates for your oral health. If you have any signs of concern, reach out to our team immediately for an accurate diagnosis and expert treatment.
Book your appointment today at our Washington, DC, office. Call 202-315-0856, or send us a message.