April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that more than 30,000 people each year are diagnosed in the United States with oral cancer? That’s why it is so important to get your regular screenings. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so it is time we discussed this important topic.
 
Oral Cancer
 
Your throat and mouth are both susceptible to oral cancer. Most cancer cells begin in our flat cells that cover the surface of your lips, mouth and tongue. Risk factors for oral cancer include:
Tobacco use
Drinking large amounts of heavy alcohol
Human Papillomavirus infections
Exposure to the sun
Poor diet
Chewing betel nuts
Any family or personal history of oral cancer
 
Symptoms of Oral Cancer Include:
Unusual patches inside the mouth or on the lips
Sores on the lips or in the mouth that aren’t healing
Bleeding inside the mouth
Loosened teeth
Difficulty or pain when swallowing
Lumps in the neck
Numbness of your chin or lower lip
Difficulty wearing your dentures
Earache that won’t go away
 
Preventing Oral Cancer
 
There are numerous ways that you can prevent oral cancer.
Avoid smoking or using tobacco products.
Drink in moderation.
Eat a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables.
Avoid excessive exposure to the sun and use a sunblock when you are outside.
Conduct a self-exam of your mouth once a month.
 
It is also important that you visit the dentist twice a year. April is a great time to make sure your appointments are up to date. Even when you are conducting your self-exams, there could be dangerous spots inside your mouth that are either very tiny or you can’t see on your own. The American Cancer Society says that you should undergo a comprehensive oral screening every three years if you are over 20 and every year once you hit the age of 40. 
 
With proper dental hygiene practices and a regular schedule to visit your Hewlett, NY dentist, you set yourself up for the best chance to avoid oral cancer. Your health is important, so make sure you take steps to prevent this dangerous disease from occurring.
 
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