Early detection is key to effectively treating and curing oral cancer.
Just as with any form of cancer, the sooner our River Forest, IL, dentist can detect oral cancer the better the prognosis. Oral cancer seems to be on the rise these days, particularly among young adults. Of course, you may not always notice subtle changes in the appearance of your gums or tongue. This is why it’s so important that you are visiting your dentist twice a year.
During these routine checkups, our dental team will also fully examine your mouth to look for any of these warning signs of oral cancer,
- White or red lesions, known as leukoplakia and erythroplakia
- A lump in the gums
- Feeling as if something is stuck in the throat
- Trouble chewing or pain with chewing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent hoarseness or changes in your voice
- Numbness in the mouth including the tongue
- Swelling of the jaws
If you notice any of these symptoms, and they persist for more than two weeks, then you should absolutely visit our River Forest, IL, general dentist for a proper evaluation. If we suspect that the lesion or sore could be cancerous, we will need to biopsy the area to provide an accurate diagnosis.
What are the risk factors for oral cancer?
While oral cancer can happen to anyone certain factors can increase your risk for developing oral cancer over your lifetime. Some of these factors include,
- Age: oral cancer most often develops in people over 40 years old
- HPV: Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to oral cancer
- Tobacco: those who smoke or use tobacco products are also significantly more likely to develop oral cancer
- Alcohol: it’s important that if you do decide to drink alcohol that you do so in moderation, as heavy alcohol use has been linked to oral cancer
- Sun: if you spend a lot of time outdoors, and if you don’t wear proper sun protection, you may be more at risk for developing cancer of the lip
Are you looking for a dentist in River Forest, IL, that can provide you with preventive dentistry including cleanings, checkups, and oral cancer screenings? If so, call Lynch Dental Center today at (708) 366-6411 to schedule your next dental appointment.