April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!
Many people think that the dentist is for those who have something wrong with their teeth. They also think that if it doesn't hurt, then everything is okay. This is where it is our responsibility as health care professionals to set the record straight. Periodontal disease and oral and head and neck cancers often do not hurt. There are ways to reduce your risk of both and there are ways to catch these things early!
What can you do in your daily life to reduce your risk?
1) Do not smoke and avoid smokeless tobacco
2) Limit your alcohol consumption - for women less than 1 drink/day and men less than 2 drinks/day
3) Avoid chewing betel quid or areca nut
4) Educate and vaccinate against HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
5) Protect against sun exposure
6) Eat fruits and vegetables
7) Practice good oral home care
8) Have regular visits to your hygienist/dentist and your doctor
Symptoms of Oral Cancer may include and are not limited to:
Sores, swellings, lumps or thick patches anywhere in or around your mouth or throat
Red or white lesions in your mouth or on your lips
The feeling of something stuck in your throat
Numbness, pain or tenderness within your mouth or throat
Pain in one of your ears with no loss of hearing
Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
Difficulty or a change in chewing, swallowing or speaking
Loose teeth with no apparent cause
Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of your health care providers!