April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so today we want to talk about this cancer and the signs and symptoms to be aware of for early detection and prevention.

There isn’t a singular cause of oral cancer; however, there are various risk factors that could make a person susceptible to this disease.

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but according to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, 90 percent of those suffering from oral cancer use some form of tobacco, whether it’s cigarettes, cigars, pipes or smokeless tobacco.

Additionally, alcohol, age, exposure to harmful UV rays (particularly risky with respect to cancers of the lip), and even poor diet lacking in fruits and vegetables can put a person at risk for developing oral cancer.

Early detection is extremely important for successful treatment. That’s why regular visits to your dentist to check for signs of mouth cancer can help identify warning signals if they should exist. According to Colgate, signs and symptoms of oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, “including the lips, tongue and throat, as well as the salivary glands, pharynx, larynx and sinuses.” I any of the following signs and symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Areas of red or white lesions in your mouth or lips
  • Difficulty moving jaw or tongue
  • Change in the way dentures or teeth fit together
  • Feelings of numbness, pain, or tenderness in the mouth, including the tongue
  • Loose teeth with no apparent dental cause
  • Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
  • Problems with chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Sensation that there’s a lump or something that’s lodged in the back of the throat
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth

Schedule an appointment at the St. Barnabas Dental Center for a full screening and to learn more about the importance of maintaining good oral health.



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