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Oral Cancer Awareness Month: What You Should Know

The thought of developing any type of cancer is worrisome, but did you know that you can develop cancer in your mouth? Every April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a great opportunity for our dentist near Wood Dale to educate our patients about the subtle threat of oral cancer. Keep in mind that oral cancer refers to cancer of the mouth while pharyngeal cancer refers to cancer of the pharynx (back of the throat). Our team will be on the lookout for oral cancer during your regular checkups, but it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and triggers as well.

Causes

Pinpointing the development of oral cancer can be complex, but there are some situations that may put you at a higher risk of developing it. The presence of human papillomavirus 16 is one of the leading causes of this type of cancer. Tobacco, whether it’s consumed with or without smoke, can significantly increase the risk of developing cancers in the mouth, throat and esophagus. Diet, sun exposure and alcohol are also risk factors.

Early Warning Signs

If you notice a sore or a lump developing in your mouth that isn’t going away, this could be a red flag. Also be mindful of numbness in the tongue, difficulty moving the jaw, pain only in one ear, or a white or red spot in your mouth, especially inside of the cheek.

Prevention

Make sure to keep a close eye on any new developments with your oral health. Cut out tobacco in all forms and drink moderately. Limit exposure to the sun and always wear sunscreen, including on your lips. Brush and floss regularly and stick to a diet that consists mainly of fruits and vegetables.

Our dentist serving Wood Dale is only a phone call away if you have an ongoing issue with your mouth! Don’t hesitate to call our team today.