It’s important to be screened regularly for oral cancer. The sooner your dentist or physician makes a diagnosis, the sooner you can begin treatment. Although treatment options vary, oral surgeons will often be involved.
Be sure to ask them any questions you may have if you’re ever preparing to undergo a procedure to treat oral cancer. They’ll gladly address your concerns, helping you feel more relaxed about the entire experience.
Again, the most important steps you can take now are to be screened regularly and avoid habits that can put you at greater risk of developing oral cancer. For example, you should avoid tobacco products, limit your consumption of alcohol, and maintain a balanced diet, among other recommendations.
However, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the early warning signs of this condition. If you notice any of the following, contact your dentist and doctor right away to schedule an appointment. Even if, as is likely, these symptoms are being caused by less serious conditions, you will be more comfortable after receiving treatment.
Mouth or Lip Sores That Won’t Heal
Mouth and lip sores can develop for several reasons. It’s a good idea to get them checked out whenever they occur. This is particularly true if they won’t heal. Sores that don’t heal quickly can be signs of oral cancer.
Granted, you shouldn’t wait to see a medical professional if sores develop on your lips or mouth. Your best option is to get medical attention sooner rather than later. That said, if you have sores that don’t appear to be healing on their own, it’s crucial that you schedule an appointment right away.
Proper oral care isn’t just about brushing and flossing every day. Yes, these tasks are important. The problem is, you’re not getting the full benefits of oral care if you’re not also taking time to inspect your mouth every day.
Look for any red or white lesions on your lips, tongue, or any other areas of your mouth. This is another telltale sign of oral cancer.
It’s always important to see a dentist if you experience persistent mouth pain. Even if your pain is not related to oral cancer, odds are it may be related to another oral health condition. Correcting the underlying issue as soon as possible will prevent your discomfort from getting worse.
Still, mouth pain that doesn’t go away can be a sign of oral cancer. Sometimes the pain is so significant that it is difficult to chew. The pain can also extend to other parts of the body. Specifically, people with oral cancer have also been known to struggle with ear and jaw pain.
Some symptoms of oral cancer are essentially side effects of main symptoms. This is one example. If your mouth pain is so great that chewing becomes painful, you may not eat as much as you normally would. This can occur so gradually that you don’t even realize it’s happening until you notice you’ve lost significant weight.
If you’ve been struggling with mouth pain that seems to have made you lose a few pounds, contact your dentist so he or she can take a closer look.
Persistent bad breath is another symptom that could be due to any of several oral health conditions. Thus, it’s another symptom that should always prompt a trip to the dentist.
If it’s not related to oral cancer, your bad breath could still be a sign of gum disease, for example. You could potentially lose teeth in the long run if you don’t address the problem.
It’s worth noting that loose teeth are another symptom of oral cancer. Fortunately, if you get treatment early, it’s generally possible to prevent this outcome.
Don’t just pay attention to your mouth when monitoring yourself for signs of oral cancer. Symptoms can also develop in your throat. If it’s constantly sore, or if you always seem to feel as though there is something caught in your throat, see a medical professional.
Difficulty Moving the Tongue or Jaw
Does your tongue ever feel numb? Do you find it difficult to move your tongue? What about your jaw?
It’s not uncommon for people with oral cancer to have trouble moving their tongues and/or jaws. This can lead to a number of related side effects, including difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing.
This is a symptom you might notice more easily if you wear dentures. When a person has oral cancer, it may cause the jaw to swell. Anyone may notice this if the swelling is severe enough. However, those who wear dentures often notice it sooner because the swelling makes their dentures fit poorly.
If you notice any of these symptoms, see a dentist right away. You should be scheduling visits every six months regardless. If they do find signs of oral cancer, they may refer you to an oral surgeon for treatment. Cancer treatment is much more likely to be effective if you catch the illness early.