In 2014, 40,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with oral cancer, as noted by WebMD. Men have more than twice the risk as women, and men over 50 have the highest oral cancer rates. Oral cancer is a life-threatening disease that requires prompt medical intervention.
As with all cancers, oral cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells. These growths damage surrounding tissues, which often leads to severe disability or death. Many types of oral cancer exist, including cancer of the throat, tongue, lips, cheek, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and sinuses. These cancers appear as growths or sores in the mouth.
Mouth cancer rates are rising, as explained in a Washington Post article. The rise has been detected in the U.S. as well as Great Britain. It came as a surprise to researchers because, in previous decades, oral cancer rates had declined.
The reason for the dramatic rise may be linked to diet and possibly sexual habits. Many young men have developed oral cancer after contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can be transmitted through oral sex. HPV can affect the cells in the skin and membranes of the mouth, tongue, tonsils, and other oral areas. The virus has been linked to other cancers, leading researchers to conclude that the HPV virus may be behind the rise in oral cancers.
Oral cancer symptoms
Dentist Karl Jobst Grove OK underscores the importance of prompt treatment of any oral cancer to patients. Of 50,000 cases, 9,500 can be expected to cause death. If you or a loved one experience signs or oral cancer, an immediate appointment with a doctor or dentist must be scheduled. Common oral cancer symptoms include the following:
- Swelling of the lips or gums
- Lumps of bumps on lips or gums
- Spots, crusts, or eroded areas on lips or gums
- White, red, or speckled spots in the mouth
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Numbness or loss of feeling in the face or neck, or mouth
- Sores on the face, neck, or mouth
- A sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Trouble speaking
- Problems moving the jaw or tongue
- Ear pain
- Change in the way dentures fit
- Extreme weight loss
These symptoms should never be ignored. Smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol, and a lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet have been linked to oral cancer.
Screening for oral cancer should be part of any oral hygiene routine. During a dental exam, dentist Karl Jobst Grove OK will look for any signs of disease. For example, a dental exam includes evaluation of any mouth sores, discolorations, or bleeding. If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to mention them to your doctor or dentist.
Oral care includes more than brushing and flossing. Though daily dental hygiene is important, it is also crucial to visit the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. During cleanings, a dental hygienist is able to remove plaque from areas that are impossible to reach with a toothbrush. Also, the dentist may be able to prevent tooth decay with the application of sealants. Sealants can often prevent cavities from progressing to the point where fillings are needed.
Visit A Dentist
A dental exam also detects periodontal disease. Periodontal disease starts as gingivitis, which causes redness, irritation, and bleeding of the gums. Over time, this plaque buildup causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, at which point tooth loss becomes imminent.
Practicing good oral hygiene habits and scheduling regular dental checkups is a must for maintaining good oral and general health. To prevent oral cancers, it’s important to practice safe sex, avoid smoking and heavy drinking, and eat a healthy diet.