Oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth including the lips, cheeks, gums, teeth or tongue. This month is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to remind you how important good oral hygiene is for your overall health — not just your mouth.
Common symptoms of oral cancer
If you have any of the following symptoms in your mouth, neck, throat, ears or face, the experienced doctors at the START Center for Cancer Care recommend a doctor’s visit to seek immediate treatment:
- Sore(s) that will not heal
- White or red patches inside the mouth
- Persistent ear pain
- Soreness in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Unexplained numbness or pain
- Unexplained bleeding
Keeping your teeth, gums and lips healthy with regular brushing and flossing can reduce your risk of halitosis (bad breath), tooth decay, gum disease and different types of oral cancer. An important part of good oral health and hygiene is scheduling regular visits with your dentist for check-ups and cleanings.
What else can I do to reduce my risk of oral cancer?
Seeing your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning can help catch any illnesses or issues before they become complicated. Here are a few more steps you can take to reduce your risk of oral cancer:
- Use a lip balm that contains a sunscreen
- Avoid tobacco products
- Get regular exercise to boost your immune system
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Get vaccinated for HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Perform regular self-examinations
If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for you or a loved one with one of START’s highly trained, experienced cancer specialists, call 210-745-6841 or request an appointment using our easy online form.