In the healthcare community, the c-word means only one thing: cancer. For those living in the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death, which many people know. However, most people don’t know that oral cancer is the most common form found in a person’s head or neck. So while brain cancer sounds frightening, you’re more likely to develop cancer in your mouth or gum tissues.
This is why your oral cancer screenings with your dentist in Bonita Springs, FL, are so important. The National Cancer Institute agrees: the true key to treating cancer is early detection. Here are some other things you should know about the various forms of oral cancer.
Gum Cancer Early Signs
Your gums are vital to your oral health because they anchor and nourish your teeth. So while Dr. Michael Gostigian will be able to detect the early indications of gum cancer, you can watch for the following signs between visits:
- White patches and sores that don’t readily heal
- Rough spots or crusty discharge on your gums
- Numbness, pain, or tenderness in your gums
- Earache or facial pain without external injury
- Chronic bad breath
- Lesions that are red, dark, white, or patchy
Symptoms of Oral Cancer in your Tongue
If your tongue is the site where cancerous cells may be forming, some of the signs are clear. The first thing you should look for is lumps, bumps, or anything that feels different in or on your tongue. Next, keep an eye out for white patches or other sores that won’t disappear. Finally, keep in mind that it’s common for a person to bite their tongue, which may leave a sore. However, that should heal in a week or so.
Risks That Increase Your Chances of Oral Cancer
What’s amazing about oral cancer is that your behaviors significantly impact its likelihood. For example, three out of every four people with oral cancer participate in at least one of the following:
- Tobacco use, both smoking and chewing products
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Exposure to sunlight without the use of sunscreen
A family history of cancer can also contribute beyond those factors you can control.
Oral Cancer Screening with Your Dentist in Bonita Springs, FL
Cancer is a severe risk to longevity in people, and oral cancer is an especially detectible and avoidable type, especially for those who keep regular dental visits. If you have any concerns about your oral health, we encourage you to give us a call today.