This year, an estimated 54,000 people in the United States will learn that they have oral cancer. Since this month is about raising awareness of this disease, we want to do our part at Johnson Dentistry in Bryan, TX.
That includes helping you help yourself and your loved ones fight this kind of cancer. Here are three things you can do.
1. Get a Dental Checkup
You already know that visiting the dentist a few times each year for cleanings and exams. This is important to prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease. It also gives us an opportunity to look for abnormalities that could suggest oral cancer. If we see anything, we will be sure to tell you, so you can get tested. When oral cancer is found early, the survival rate is 80 to 90 percent.
2. Conduct a Self-Check
If you don’t have an appointment with us this month, it’s a good time to conduct a self-check. Be sure that you have a mirror and a light to see inside your mouth. Look for patches of soft tissue that are red, white, or a combination of those colors. Check for lumps or growths and pay attention to any mouth sores that don’t appear to be getting better.
3. Know Your Risk Factors
Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and HPV are the three leading causes of oral cancer. Tobacco should be avoided entirely. Limiting or avoiding alcohol makes a difference as well. Last but not least, you can get vaccinated against HPV if you are eligible.