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Educate Yourself About Oral Cancer

veneers_2 __Sunrise Dental | Chapel Hill | Durham | Raleigh | Cary, NC
You could list a number of reasons why you should make regular visits to the dentist. After all, general dentistry is about keeping your mouth as healthy as it can be. Most people will think of preventing tooth decay or fixing cavities. Many people know the importance of fighting gum disease. It’s certainly true that cleanings and preventive care are an essential part of what we do at Sunrise Dental, but the examination is just as important. During your exam, we aren’t just looking for cavities. We are checking for symptoms of oral cancer, too. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  Now is a good time to schedule your next examination if you have not already done so. We have dentist offices in Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and Cary, so we are probably closer than you think. The Value Of Early Detection More than 130 people find out that they have oral cancer on an average day in the United States. Sadly, an average of one person dies every hour from this disease, too, according to The Oral Cancer Foundation. The earlier you become aware of your oral cancer, the more likely you are to defeat it. The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that 80 to 90 percent of people who catch oral cancer in the early stages become long-term survivors. Unfortunately, many oral cancers are not detected until the later stages. For those patients, the survival rate drops to 57 percent within five years of their initial diagnosis. Our wish would be that none of our patients are diagnosed with oral cancer, but if you do have it, we want to find it as soon as possible for your sake and the sake of your family and friends. We know this could disease can affect anyone. That is why we include oral cancer checks as part of our routine examinations. Symptoms Of Oral Cancer A lot can happen between your routine visits to Sunrise Dental, however. With that in mind, we also want you to know the symptoms of oral cancer. If you notice any of these signs, please make plans to visit your doctor as soon as you are able. These are considered early indicators that you may have oral cancer:
  • A sore that lasts for 14 days
  • A lingering sensation of feeling hoarse
  • Having red, white, or both kinds of discoloration of the soft tissues of your mouth
What follows are considered advanced indicators. If you have these symptoms, then visiting your doctor becomes even more important:
  • Numbness in or around your mouth
  • Problems moving your jaw or tongue
  • Problems swallowing
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your throat
  • A lump in your neck or mouth
  • Lingering ear pain on one side of your head
  • Having a sore under a denture that does not heal even after your denture is adjusted
Don’t take chances with oral cancer. It’s better to get checked if you have any concerns about this disease. What You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk You cannot completely eliminate your risk of developing oral cancer. In 7 percent of the cases, the cause is unknown. On the other hand, the cause can be identified 93 percent of the time, which means scientists do know some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease. Here are some suggestions:
  • Avoid Tobacco Products
We know we are right in the middle of Tobacco Road, but that doesn’t make tobacco any less dangerous. Among people who are 50 and older who are diagnosed with oral cancer, 75 percent of them are tobacco users.
  • Limit Alcohol Use
Not only is alcohol the second leading cause of oral cancer in the United States, it compounds the problems that come from tobacco use. Tobacco products contain several cancer-causing chemicals. These can be absorbed more easily when you have a dry mouth, and alcohol can dry out the soft tissue of your mouth.
  • Eat Healthy
We all know that we are supposed to eat fruits and vegetables. These contain nutrients that make our bodies healthier, which can reduce our risk of developing cancer and improve our bodies’ abilities to fight the disease.
  • Get Vaccinated
In the U.S., HPV-16 has little or no effect on most people, but for 1 percent of us, the human papillomavirus can develop into oral and other kinds of cancer. Vaccines exist to protect against this virus, but they are only effective if you receive it before the virus gets into your system. Talk to your doctor to find out if the vaccine could help you or someone you love. Care For Yourself We hope that we never see the symptoms of oral cancer, but knowing the importance of early detection, we are going to check each time you visit Sunrise Dental for routine care. Whether you live in or near Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, or Cary, one of our dentist offices close. Contact the location nearest to you to schedule a cleaning and examination today.