Cancer is a scary prospect for any person, and mouth cancer is no different. This type of cancer can often go unnoticed due to its seemingly harmless symptoms in the early stages. Unfortunately, these symptoms may point to a much more serious problem that requires immediate attention.
Mouth cancer symptoms usually involve discoloration and sores in and around the mouth. You may also experience trouble chewing and swallowing. You can help prevent the disease by quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol. Treatment begins with early detection, which is why we perform a mouth cancer screening during every exam.
Mouth Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of mouth cancer can vary from case to case and person to person. They may seem harmless in the early stages, which may cause you to not seek the treatment you need. Knowing the early-stage mouth cancer symptoms can help you spot irregularities and get treatment immediately.
Early symptoms of mouth cancer include:
- White or reddish blotches inside of your mouth
- Sores in your mouth or on your lips that won’t heal
- Lumps or growths inside your mouth
- Trouble swallowing
- Difficulty chewing
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
The signs and symptoms of mouth cancer can be painless at first. However, you may notice pain or a burning sensation in your mouth or ears as the tumor develops. You may also experience weight loss due to the pain involved in chewing or swallowing.
Contact us immediately if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms before they have the chance to worsen. Our team of oral health professionals can determine if you’re suffering from mouth cancer and get you the treatment that you need. Even if it’s not mouth cancer, we can help you get relief and develop a treatment plan to tackle the problem.
Taking proactive steps to prevent developing mouth cancer is always preferable to needing treatment. Not only will this keep your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy, but it will help protect your overall health for years to come. Taking steps to prevent mouth cancer will also make it easier for us to catch the disease if it begins to develop.
You can help prevent mouth cancer by:
- Quitting any form of tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco
- Cutting down on your alcohol consumption
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting plenty of exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Avoiding prolonged UV exposure
- Knowing your family health history
Tobacco use and alcohol consumption are two of the biggest risk factors for mouth cancer. Fortunately, you can quit or limit their use in your life to help prevent it as well as protect the overall health of your mouth.
Both smoking and smokeless tobacco are leading causes of mouth cancer and many other forms of cancer, including:
- Lung cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Throat cancer
- Lip cancer
- Bladder cancer
Smoking can damage your oral health in ways besides mouth cancer. It can also lead to gum disease, bone deterioration in your jaw, and tooth loss.
According to the American Cancer Society, drinking alcohol can increase your risk of mouth cancer. Heavy drinkers are at even greater risk, so limiting your alcohol consumption can greatly improve your outlook.
You can’t change the fact that you have a family history of mouth cancer. However, informing us about this history can help us keep an extra close eye on your oral health for signs of the disease. This can help ensure that you take extra special care of your mouth, avoid risk factors that you can control, and get the treatment you need if necessary.
Check out our blog Am I at Risk of Oral Cancer? to learn more about risk factors for mouth cancer.
Early detection is essential for effective mouth cancer treatment. We use the Vizilite system to detect mouth cancer, which is the most effective oral cancer screening tool available today. This service is included in every exam to ensure early detection. It’s also included in our New Patient Special, along with:
- A full set of dental X-rays
- A comprehensive oral exam
- Screenings for TMJ, tooth decay, and periodontal disease
- A head and neck screening
Click here to learn more about our New Patient Special.
The type of oral cancer treatment you receive will depend on a variety of factors. Common methods of treatment include:
Keep a lookout for signs of mouth cancer such as sores and discoloration in and around your mouth. Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption to lower your risk of the disease. Having a family history of mouth cancer also increases your risk. Early detection is key for effective treatment, which is why we include a screening in every exam we perform.
Are you concerned that you may have symptoms of mouth cancer? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday and every other Friday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.