You don’t want cavities.
You don’t want gum disease.
And you definitely don’t want oral cancer.
The thing is all of these are great reasons to make an appointment at Bayou Dental Group in Monroe, LA. We do oral cancer screenings for our patients as part of our general dentistry.
As important as early detection is for treating tooth decay and periodontal problems, it’s even more important when it comes to oral cancer.
Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we thought it would be a good time to remind you to schedule a dental checkup. We will be sharing some more information about this disease in today’s post.
In the meantime, call 318-302-4236 now to set up a dental exam at our office.
Reduce Your Risk
In 90 percent of cases, doctors are able to identify the cause or causes of oral cancer, according to The Oral Cancer Foundation.
The most common contributing factor is tobacco use. On the conservative side, experts estimate that at least 75 percent of new oral cancer cases can be attributed to tobacco use. That’s probably not a surprise given the number of cancer-causing chemicals used in tobacco products. It’s also not a surprise that the longer you have used tobacco and the more frequently you use it, the more likely you are to develop mouth or throat cancer.
Heavy drinking is the second leading cause of oral cancer in the United States. This is defined as having 21 or more drinks per week.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to be a heavy drinker to raise your risk. Drinking and using tobacco at the same time also increases your risk. Alcohol can cause dehydration, which makes it easier for the soft tissues in the mouth to absorb the chemicals in tobacco products.
Things You Should Know
We have mentioned that early detection is invaluable when it comes to oral cancer. Here’s why.
When oral cancer is detected in the late stages, the five-year survival rate is 57 percent, according to the foundation. When its found in the early stages, that survival rate is between 80 and 90 percent.
We want to keep seeing your smiles for many years to come. So, we also want you to know what you can and should look for on your own. Oral cancer can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sores that have not gotten better after two weeks
- Lingering hoarseness
- A lump or growth on your lips, in your mouth, or on your throat
- Patches of soft tissue in your mouth that appear red, white, or a mix of both
- Discomfort or difficulty when eating, speaking, or swallowing
If you notice these symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested.