April 2017 – Oral Cancer

Spring at last! Now into April, two important topics take the spotlight in dentistry.

The first topic is oral cancer. Early detection and treatment is key to increasing survival. Do you know the signs?

Some Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

  • difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • ear pain
  • difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • hoarseness
  • numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth
  • swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
  • soreness or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • lump or thickening of tissues inside mouth
  • red and/or white lesions that do not heal anywhere in the mouth or throat
  • sore or irregular moles on lips that do not resolve

Especially with the wonderful weather around the corner, be aware of the terrible triad!
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and sun exposure (especially done at the same time) greatly increase your chances of developing oral cancer.

It is recommended to have an annual exam and screening with your dentist to check for any abnormalities, but first line of defense often lies with you taking note of any changes or unusual findings. When in doubt, call your dentist or doctor to be checked.
More good information and support can be found on oralcancerfoundation.org.

The second topic is mouth guards. Sports are a great way for our children and us to stay healthy and socially involved, and they are tons of fun. Why let a mouth injury ruin that?

Mouth guards are an easy way to prevent serious injuries to the mouth and teeth. They help cushion a blow to the face decreasing risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face and jaw.

Custom fit sports guards made by your dental office are superior for fit, comfort, and quality protection, but the over the counter guards also provide protection if cost is a factor. So, protect that smile, and make sure to put in that sports guard!

Christina Smith, RDH