Preventing Oral Cancer and Spreading Awareness - Sonrisas Dental Miami

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Preventing Oral Cancer and Spreading Awareness

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oral cancer awarenessCancer is a frightening word that no one wants to hear, especially when it comes to your health. But the reality is that oral cancer is a very real and serious condition that affects thousands of people each year. While it may not get as much attention as some other types of cancer, oral cancer can be just as deadly if it’s not caught and treated early.

At Sonrisas Dental Miama, our team has seen firsthand the devastating impact that oral cancer can have on patients and their families. That’s why we are passionate about educating people on the signs, risk factors, and importance of early detection when it comes to this disease. In this post, we’ll dive deep into the world of oral cancer – exploring what it is, who is at risk, and most importantly, how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that begins in the mouth or throat. It can develop on the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, sinuses, hard and soft palate, or pharynx (throat). While oral cancer is often associated with tobacco and alcohol use, it can also occur in people who don’t have these risk factors.

Oral cancer is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if not caught and treated early. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, it’s estimated that someone in the United States dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. In fact, the 5-year survival rate is only around 57%, making it one of the deadliest cancers.

Risk Factors & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

There are several factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing oral cancer. Some of the most common risk factors include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • HPV infection
  • Sun exposure
  • Age
  • Gender. Men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women, with a ratio of about 2:1.

While these are the primary risk factors, it’s important to remember that anyone can develop oral cancer, regardless of their lifestyle or demographics. Fortunately, there are symptoms and signs to look for.

The Signs

Oral cancer can manifest in a variety of ways, and the symptoms can vary depending on the location and stage of the disease. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • A sore or irritation in the mouth that doesn’t heal within 2 weeks
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
  • A lump, thickening, or rough spot on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Persistent sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Dramatic weight loss

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other, less serious conditions, so it’s essential to have any persistent or unusual changes in the mouth checked by our experienced team at Sonrisas Dental Miami. If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, various treatments can be offered that range from surgery to chemo and radiation.

Preventing Oral Cancer

Perhaps the most important aspect of oral cancer awareness is prevention and education. Dr. Waich is passionate about educating patients on the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, in addition to other health benefits of supplements including probiotics. Her dedication to these issues has set her apart as one of the leading dentists in North Miami Beach.

If you are concerned about oral cancer, here are the best ways to prevent it:

  • Quit smoking and using tobacco products. Quitting smoking and avoiding all tobacco products is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of oral cancer.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. If you do drink alcohol, try to do so in moderation and avoid binge drinking.
  • Protect your lips from sun exposure. When spending time outdoors, be sure to apply a lip balm or sunscreen with SPF to protect your lips from harmful UV rays.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups can help identify any potential issues early on.
  • Get HPV vaccinated. The HPV vaccine can help protect against the strains of the virus that are linked to oral and other types of cancer.
  • Perform regular self-exams. Regularly examine your mouth, tongue, and throat for any changes or abnormalities that could be a sign of oral cancer.

Schedule Your Next Exam and Get Screened for Oral Cancer

The good news is that oral cancer is highly treatable, especially when detected early. Regular dental exams and self-checks can help identify any abnormal growths or changes in the mouth that could be a sign of cancer. By staying vigilant and getting prompt treatment, the chances of successful treatment and recovery are much higher. If it has been a while since your last check-up, take this opportunity to schedule your cleaning, exam, and oral cancer screening today.