April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and at Southern Serenity Dental Spa, we believe it’s crucial to raise awareness about this disease. Oral cancer is a type of cancer that can affect any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, and throat. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often detected at an advanced stage, making it difficult to treat. However, early detection is key to successful treatment, which is why regular oral cancer screenings are essential.
Who is at Risk for Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can affect anyone, but there are certain factors that can increase your risk. These include:
- Tobacco use: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or using smokeless tobacco, can increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
- Alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol use can also increase your risk of oral cancer, especially if combined with tobacco use.
- HPV infection: Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) have been linked to an increased risk of oral cancer.
- Age: Oral cancer is more common in people over the age of 50.
- Sun exposure: Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase your risk of lip cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Knowing the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can help with early detection. These include:
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Persistent hoarseness or sore throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- A lump or thickening in the cheek or neck
- Numbness or pain in the mouth or tongue
How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of oral cancer, including:
- Quit smoking: If you use tobacco, quitting is the best thing you can do for your overall health.
- Drink in moderation: If you choose to drink, do so in moderation.
- Protect your lips from the sun: Use a lip balm with SPF and wear a hat or other protective clothing when you’re outside for an extended period.
- Practice good oral hygiene: Brush and floss your teeth regularly, and schedule regular dental checkups.
Oral Cancer Screenings
At Southern Serenity Dental Spa, we offer oral cancer screenings as part of our comprehensive dental exams. During the screening, Dr. Sarah Herrmann will examine your mouth and throat for any signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. If anything suspicious is detected, Dr. Herrmann will refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
Take Action Today
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Schedule your oral cancer screening at Southern Serenity Dental Spa today. Together, we can #FightOralCancer and promote good oral health. Contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment.