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Oral Cancer Awareness Month: How to Combat Oral Cancer and Stay Healthy

April 21, 2022
Posted By: East Cooper Smiles
man at the dentist in mount pleasant sc

Did you know that approximately 54,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF)? The OCF also states that about 132 American people are diagnosed every day, and every hour of the day, someone dies from oral cancer. These statistics are frightening, but together, we can prevent and beat oral cancer! 

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and as your family’s dental health provider, we’re here to help you prevent oral cancer and maintain healthy smiles for life. Contact us today to schedule a thorough oral health examination and cancer screening or learn how to decrease your risk. 

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Smoking and tobacco are major risk factors for oral cancer, but perhaps the fastest-growing risk is the human papillomavirus (HPV). Many young, healthy, non-smoking people are developing oral cancer from HPV. Though we can’t stop the spread of this virus, we hope to help save lives with public awareness and exceptional oral health care. 

Here are some common risk factors so you can eliminate your chance of developing the disease:

  • Drinking alcohol and using tobacco – People who heavily smoke and drink are about 30 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those who don’t, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). 
  • HPV – There are over 150 types of HPV viruses, and HPV16 is the type commonly linked to oral cancer. 
  • Gender – The ACS states that men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, perhaps because they’re more likely to use tobacco and alcohol. HPV-related oral cancers are also more common in men. 
  • Age – Many oral cancer patients are older than age 55, but HPV-linked cancers are diagnosed in people younger than 50. 
  • Ultraviolet light – Lip cancer is more common in people exposed to sunlight for extended periods. 
  • Poor nutrition – Poor nutrition has many adverse effects on the body, including a higher risk of oral cancer. 
  • Genetic syndromes – People with certain conditions, such as Fanconi anemia and Dyskeratosis congenita, have a higher risk of throat and mouth cancer. 

Protect Your Health with Routine Oral Cancer Screenings

At East Cooper Smiles, we screen for oral cancers during every examination at our Mount Pleasant dental office. Whether you need a routine cleaning or cosmetic consultation, we check for all the signs of oral cancers to ensure your mouth is healthy. 

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Persistent oral sores
  • Chronic oral pain
  • Lumps or bumps in the cheek
  • Red or white patch on the tongue, tonsil, gums, or other soft tissues lining the mouth
  • Persistent sore throat 
  • Persistent bad breath 
  • Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing 
  • Tongue numbness or numbness in other areas in the mouth 
  • Jaw swelling 
  • Tooth mobility 
  • Pain in the jaw or teeth
  • Voice changes 
  • Lump or soreness in the neck 

If you notice any of these signs, please contact us today. Routine dental appointments are one of the ways you can prevent oral cancer or stop it before it has a chance to progress. We can create a customized plan to help your unique case.  

We Can Help Stop Mouth Cancer Before It Starts!

East Cooper Smiles offers oral cancer screenings to all of our patients so you and your family can enjoy happy, healthy smiles for many years to come. Please call us today to arrange your appointment with Dr. Jason Annan. 

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