When cells invade and cause damage to tissues in the oral cavity, this might be classified as oral cancer, which is a potentially life-threatening condition if not diagnosed early. This is one reason why dental professionals urge patients to commit to regularly scheduled checkups in order to detect and monitor changes in their oral health. Meanwhile, it’s wise to learn about the symptoms of oral cancer and what to look for.
WebMD explains that abnormal cancer cells usually manifest as a sore or growth in the mouth that doesn’t go away. The formation or lesion could appear on the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard or soft palate, sinuses and throat (pharynx). Other commonly reported symptoms of oral cancer are listed below:
- Areas of swelling or thickening of tissues, lumps or bumps, rough spots or crusty areas on the lips, gums or other areas in the mouth
- Patches in the mouth that appear white, red or speckled in color
- Bleeding in the mouth that is unexplained
- Numbness or pain and tenderness in the face, mouth or neck
- Sores on the face, neck or mouth that bleed easily or do not heal after two weeks
- Chronic Sore throat or feeling that something is lodged in the throat
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or pain while moving the jaw or tongue
- Pain in the ear
- Weight loss
- Change in an individual’s bite or in the way dentures fit
Without question, the above-mentioned symptoms should be reported to a dentist immediately, especially if there is a family history of cancer. Other risk factors that increase one’s susceptibility to developing oral cancer are smoking, tobacco, excessive alcohol or exposure to the sun and certain strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). However, oral cancers may occur in anyone, and this beckons individuals to again consider the importance of regular dental cleanings and checkups.
Comprehensive Dental Checkups in Midtown
Group Health Dental places a high value on regular dental checkups and evaluations to ensure that patients achieve and maintain optimal oral health. As part of a comprehensive dental care regimen, our experienced dentists and staff perform an oral cancer screening.
Whether it’s time for your next dental visit, or you’ve noticed a change in your oral health, call Group Health Dental in Midtown today to schedule an appointment.