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Posted on 2/29/2020 by Dr. Chad Rebhun
|Most people are fairly diligent when it comes to keeping up with their dental health. Twice a year, they go in for a checkup and a tooth cleaning. Unless there is something obvious, they can be in and out of the office in a matter of minutes, toting a brand-new toothbrush and tips on how to keep teeth strong.
What many do not know is that oral cancer can spring up pretty quickly and unless you stay on your regular visits, it may come as a surprise after a skipped appointment. Especially if you are high risk, it can be very important to stay on top of cancer screenings.
How Do You Know You Are At Risk?
Genetics can play a huge part in determining if you have an increased chance of contracting oral cancer. Mutated cells can be found anywhere in your mouth, from the gums, underneath the tongue, or even the back of your throat. If you are a smoker, you have a higher risk. Males, unfortunately, also have a greater chance of getting oral cancer than women do and depending on age can give them some of the highest risk factors.
What You Should Be Aware Of
If you have had symptoms for at least two weeks, which could include problems chewing or swallowing, tenderness or pain, or strange lumps in the mouth that just do not go away, you should probably get checked out. Even something like unexplained weight loss could be a reason for concern, and although it may not be cancer, it should still be screened. Avoiding the use of alcohol and tobacco products can lower your chances of getting oral cancer. Wearing sunscreen or an SPF chapstick may also help.
Knowing your own mouth can be one of the best preventative measures against cancer. If you notice something that does not feel right, stop in and let us check it out for you.