Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April

a patient at a dental office with her dentist for a comprehensive dental examination this oral cancer awareness month

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April is oral cancer awareness month. That means it’s time to schedule an appointment with Bela Family Dentistry. With dental practice locations in both Georgia and South Carolina, you have no excuse not to take care of your mouth and your body.

Oral Cancer Awareness Month is Important

Oropharyngeal and oral cancers are responsible for killing one person every sixty minutes every day. Of those diagnosed, 40 percent will not be alive much longer than 5 years if at all. Those who do survive often suffer from facial disfigurement and problems talking and eating.

The rate of death is high because these types of cancers aren’t usually discovered in the early stages. When these types of cancers are discovered and treated early on, the treatment related problems are reduced and the survival rate increases as well.

The Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month helps remind everyone how important regular dental checkups are, especially comprehensive dental exams that include an oral cancer screening.

What is a Comprehensive Dental Examination?

A comprehensive dental examination is just like a regular dental checkup, but also includes an oral cancer screening.

During an oral cancer screening, your dentist will examine your neck, throat, head, and your entire oral cavity looking for anything that seems suspicious. If your dentist notices red or white patches, lumps, bumps or anything else that doesn’t seem right a biopsy is usually recommended for further investigation.

Watch Your Symptoms Year Round

Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. Paying attention to it prevents oral and overall health problems.

In between dental checkups watch for these signs.

  • A sore throat that will not go away
  • White or red patches
  • Pain or tenderness in your mouth or lips
  • Numbness
  • Lumps
  • Rough spots
  • Thick tissue
  • Crusty areas in the mouth
  • Gum and tissue erosion
  • Problems talking, swallowing or chewing
  • Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
  • Changes in your bite

If you have any of the above symptoms keep an eye on them. If nothing changes, schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Oral Cancer Contributing Factors

While there are many reasons people get oral cancer, some have a higher risk than others do. Those include people who smoke or chew tobacco and people who are heavy drinkers. Oral cancer is also being found in non-smokers and younger people because of the human papillomavirus or HPV.

Oropharyngeal cancer caused by HPV may show the following symptoms and signs

  • Lumps or swelling in the neck
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Sore Throat
  • Swelling at the back of the mouth

Again, early detection is the key.

Oral Cancer Awareness Month with Bela Family Dentistry

While oral cancer does kill, you can survive it as long as it is diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages. Regular dental checkups and oral cancer screenings reduce your chances. Call and schedule a comprehensive dental checkup and oral cancer screening with Bela Family Dentistry today.  We have dental clinics in Aiken SC, Augusta GA, Edgefield SC, Florence SC, Kershaw SC, Newberry SC, Columbia SC, Wagener SC, West Columbia SC, and Lexington SC. Take advantage of the special offers for new patients and inquire at the nearest local branch.

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