April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer strikes an estimated 37,000 Americans each year. Studies show that the chance of surviving oral cancer is 80 to 90% if you catch it in its early stages. The dentists at Jackson Creek Dental Group are equipped with the skills and tools necessary to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. Oral cancer screenings are a routine part of every dental examination we perform and are an essential element of early detection.
While nothing can take the place of an oral evaluation/cancer screening by your dentist, doing self-exams at home can increase the likelihood that an oral cancer can be detected early. Use a flashlight and mirror to look inside your mouth. Feel the inside of your mouth, lips and gums. Pull your cheek out to inspect the inside of the mouth and tilt your head to check the roof and floor of your mouth. Make sure to check your tongue and all of its surfaces.
There are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer:
• Quit using (or don’t start using) tobacco including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others. Historically, approximately 75% of those diagnosed are tobacco users.
• Avoid alcohol use, especially when combined with tobacco use. The dehydrating effect of alcohol on cell walls enhances the ability of tobacco carcinogens to permeate mouth tissues.
• Avoid excessive sun exposure to your lips.
• Protect yourself from the sexually transmitted virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV), responsible for the majority of cervical cancers in women and a possible risk factor for oral cancer.
• Have regular dental check-ups combined with oral cancer screenings.
• Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, which will provide vitamins and antioxidants that may help reduce your risk of oral cancer.
• Make sure to have regular dental check-ups combined with oral cancer screenings.
It is important to have any sore or discolored area of your mouth, which does not heal within 14 days, looked at by a professional. If you suspect you may have oral cancer make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible for a complete oral evaluation and oral cancer screening. We care about your health and well-being! Call us today at 209.223.2712.
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