What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to highlighting a disease that affects thousands of lives each year. At Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, we prioritize your overall health, and that includes educating you about oral cancer.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer refers to cancers that occur in the mouth, lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, and roof or floor of the mouth. It can be life-threatening if not caught early, which is why raising awareness is so important.

Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can manifest in various ways. Be aware of the following signs, and consult us immediately if you notice any:

  • Persistent mouth sores or ulcers that won’t heal
  • White or reddish patches inside the mouth
  • Unexplained lumps or thickening in the mouth or neck
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice or hoarseness
  • Numbness in the tongue or face

Risk Factors—Are You at Risk?

While anyone can develop oral cancer, certain factors increase the risk:

  • Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco are the leading risk factors.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol use further increases the risk.
  • HPV Infection: Certain types of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are linked to oral cancer.
  • Age: The risk of oral cancer increases with age, most commonly affecting those over 40.
  • Sun exposure: Prolonged sun exposure can increase the risk of lip cancer.
  • Prevention and Early Detection—Your Best Defense

The good news is that there are things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol.
  • Healthy diet: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Good oral hygiene: Brush twice daily, floss regularly, and see us for checkups!
  • HPV Vaccination: Consider vaccination for yourself or your children.

Oral Cancer Screenings: The most crucial prevention tool! During every dental visit, we conduct a thorough oral cancer screening.

Regular Dental Check-ups Could Save Your Life!

At Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, oral cancer awareness isn’t just a topic for April; it’s part of our everyday commitment to your health. Early detection saves lives, and regular oral cancer screenings could be that lifesaving step.

Join the Fight During Oral Cancer Awareness Month

  • Educate Yourself: Learn more from reliable sources like the Oral Cancer Foundation.
  • Spread the Word: Share with friends and family, especially those at higher risk.
  • Support Organizations: Donate to organizations that support oral cancer research and awareness.

Let’s work together this April, and all year round, to fight against oral cancer. Schedule your next checkup at Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, and let’s protect your smile and your health.

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