Routine dental cleanings are a great way to be proactive about your oral and your overall health.
At our office in Crown Point, IN, we are happy to remove plaque and bacteria. We also look for any signs for problems like tooth decay and gum disease. If we can spot something early, we know your treatment will be easier and more effective.
That’s why oral cancer screenings also are part of our general dentistry at Van Buskirk & Krischke DDS. While we don’t treat oral cancer, we are always on the lookout for any symptoms of this disease.
Finding it in the early stages can make a big difference. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, the five-year survival rate for oral cancer patients is between 80 and 90 percent when it’s found early. That drops to 57 percent when the disease is found in the late stages.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, which makes it a good time to schedule a visit to our office. Call 219-641-3422 today.
Now, keep reading to learn some more important things you should know about oral cancer.
Avoid Tobacco & Other Tips
Getting dental checkups is one way to be proactive when it comes to oral cancer, but it’s not the only thing you should do — or not do.
Tobacco products contain dozens of known cancer-causing chemicals. Anyone who smokes or uses smokeless tobacco is raising their risk of oral cancer. Tobacco use is far and away the leading cause of oral cancer cases in the United States.
The foundation reports that health experts estimate that tobacco is a factor in at least 75 percent of new oral cancer cases. Using tobacco frequently and for a long time raises your risk of developing this disease even more.
Alcohol use can leave you more likely to develop oral cancer as well. Specifically, research has shown that people who consume 21 or more drinks per week are more likely that the average person to develop this disease.
Knowing that, you probably won’t be surprised to find out that drinking while using tobacco can be a deadly combination. Alcohol can lead to dehydrating. When the soft tissues of your mouth are dry, they absorb the chemicals in tobacco products more easily, and that’s not a good thing.
These are not the only risk factors, but they are the two most common.
Watch For The Symptoms
As important as oral cancer screenings can be, you also should be aware of the symptoms of this disease. That way, if you notice something, you can talk to your physician about getting tested.
Many people will have patches of red, white, or a mix of both on the soft tissues inside their mouths. You may have rough spots or lumps that form on your lips, in your mouth, or on your throat or neck.
Sores that have not healed in two weeks could be indicative of a bigger problem. Pay attention to a lingering sore throat or hoarse feeling, too. And be aware if you are having pain or other problems when eating, swallowing, or speaking.
Please talk to your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms to find out if you should be tested.
Don’t Take Chances
Letting tooth decay go could mean you need a filling or a dental crown. Letting oral cancer go could have more serious consequences. An oral cancer screening is just another reason to visit Van Buskirk & Krischke DDS regularly.