Regular visits to the dentist are an important part of your oral hygiene routine. They help keep your teeth clean and healthy, and they give your South Edmonton dentist the opportunity to notice small problems developing in your mouth, before they get the chance to turn into big problems. One of these problems that your dentist can identify early on is oral cancer.
Oral cancer develops when there is abnormal cell growth in the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. When oral cancer is caught early, it can usually be fully treated, and the patient can make a full recovery. If left to continue developing, oral cancer can cause serious damage to your face and mouth and can spread to other areas of your body which could be fatal. Early signs of oral cancer are easy to identify. The first signs of oral cancer are usually tiny white or red spots or sores that go unnoticed by most patients. Other symptoms of oral cancer include:
- A sore throat that does not heal
- Lumps or thickening in the lips, gums or mouth
- Sore patches in the mouth that do not heal
- A lump in the neck
- Bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
If you are smoker, a heavy drinker, have a poor diet and allow prolonged sun exposure on the lips you are at greater risk of oral cancer than the average person, and it’s important for you to be even more vigilant about monitoring your oral health and visiting your Petrolia dentist regularly. Plus, while oral cancer usually develops in patients over the age of 45, these cancers are being reported in younger patients more and more. If you’re diagnosed with oral cancer, treatment options will vary but will usually include a biopsy, imaging test (like an x-ray or CT scan) and chemotherapy.
Because they are trained to detect symptoms of various oral diseases, dentists are the first line of defence against oral cancer. At each check-up, your dentist examines your mouth, face and neck for any signs of the disease.
Oral cancer can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle that includes a proper home-based oral hygiene routine and regular visits to your dentist for a check-up and cleaning. For more information about oral cancer symptoms and screening, call the team at Petrolia Dental today.