What is Oral Cancer?
Mouth cancer will be diagnosed in some 54,000 folks in the U.S. this year, and only 57 percent, or just more than half, will still be alive in five years. Over the coming few decades, the number of cases of oral cancer diagnosed annually is only expected to increase.
We offer you this breakdown of oral cancer that includes what defines and causes it and how to prevent, identify and treat it.
Defining Oral Cancer
Mouth cancer, or oral cancer, is any cancer located in the back of the throat or the mouth.
There are several spots in your mouth where oral cancers can take hold, including on and under your tongue as well as on:
Tissues lining your mouth
The back of the throat
Being among the hardest kinds of cancer to detect without a dental examination, mouth and oral cancers can be the most harmful.
Left untreated, mouth cancers may quickly spread to different areas of the body.
One of the issues dental hygienists and dentists seek out when examining your mouth is oral cancer. As such, setting up routine dental cleanings and exams is vital to protecting your mouth from cancer.
Since Mouth Cancer Awareness Month is November, it also makes this month the ideal time to learn how to prevent, treat, and detect cancers of the mouth, including how our dental office at Naylor’s Court Dental Partners can assist with that.
Keep your mouth healthy and your smile beautiful by setting up your next dental cleaning and exam with your dentist’s office in Pikesville, MD now.
How You Can Prevent Mouth and Oral Cancers
Key parts of preventing oral cancer include:
Routine dental checkups
A healthy way of living
Detecting mouth cancer early
Making sure you get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet is another way to help with not just the health of your mouth but of your whole body as well. Anyone can be impacted by oral cancer, which is why it’s essential to schedule a visit with your dentist in Pikesville, MD now and maintain your beautiful smile and healthy mouth.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
It may be difficult to identify mouth cancers until your dentist examines you, but there are certain signs you may observe that can let you know there may be a problem to investigate.
These signs and symptoms include:
Sores and ulcers that won’t go away after three weeks
Patches in the mouth of white and/or red
Swelling or lumps in the head, mouth, or neck area
Growths and patches of scar-type tissues
A critical member of your healthcare team in general, your dentist is there to help you determine whether any concerns you may have about your oral health are founded and, if they are, how to properly address them.\
Mouth Cancer Causes
Certain factors like age may raise the risk of acquiring oral or mouth cancer. But, 90 percent of mouth and oral cancer cases are caused by factors of lifestyle.
Excessive alcohol consumption is one leading risk factor for mouth cancer. In fact, when smoking is combined with it, the risk of developing mouth cancer triples.
Smoking puts you at ten times more risk of developing oral cancer than non-smokers. Two-thirds of all diagnoses of mouth or oral cancer, in fact, are linked directly to smoking.
In addition to smoking, chewing tobacco and using smokeless tobacco products are also risk factors for oral cancer. Both smokeless tobacco and chewing tobacco contain ingredients toxic to the body that can seriously elevate your risk of mouth cancer developing. On top of these lifestyle choices, other factors like exposure to the sun and a poor diet without sufficient minerals and vitamins can additionally increase your odds of developing oral cancer.
How Mouth Cancer Is Diagnosed
Detecting oral cancer early is vital, given how quickly it can spread. Many dentists in Pikesville, MD screen for mouth cancer as part of a normal examination. Oral cancer screenings don’t take much time to conduct and are entirely painless. Your dentist simply examines your neck, face, mouth, and lips for any indications of mouth cancer. Your dentist in Pikesville, MD may additionally explore the area around your jawline, neck, and face and inside your cheeks and lips for any growths
How Mouth Cancers Are Treated
In spite of how frightening mouth cancer may sound, your dentist can very effectively treat it if they detect it early enough. Your dentist in Pikesville, MD may, during the course of your exam, pick up on some abnormality in your mouth. If so, he or she could give you a specialist’s referral.
Often, oral or mouth cancer treatments involve a complete specialist team that may include oncologists and maxillofacial surgeons, or oral surgeons in addition to your regular dentist.
Surgery is a common mouth cancer treatment option as is radiation therapy if the cancer is discovered early. If oral or mouth cancer has become more advanced by the time it’s diagnosed, dentists could use chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or other more aggressive treatment options.
Targeted therapy, in which dentists use medication or other substances to identify cancer cells with precision and attack them, is another potential treatment a dentist may provide for mouth cancer. In addition to your overall health in general, your dentist will also determine the best courses of treatment for your mouth cancer based on the kind and size of any tumors that may be present, where your mouth cancer started, and if and where it has spread.
Don’t take the risk, call us at (410) 442-6785 to schedule your routine cleaning and exam at Naylor’s Court Dental Partners in Pikesville, MD today.