MI Smile Family Dental

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

Since most of us don’t routinely analyze the insides of our mouths, you may wonder how you can detect the signs of oral cancer. In addition to oral cancer screenings with your oral surgery specialist, call the doctor’s office if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Bleeding in your mouth that doesn’t stop or a sore that doesn’t heal
  • A lump or thickening in the lining of the mouth
  • Chronic hoarseness or sore throat
  • Red or white patches on the soft tissues in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing

Additional symptoms that may signal a problem include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, loose teeth, chronic bad breath, and ear and/or jaw pain. Check your tongue, lips, gums, cheeks, teeth, face, and neck for changes, and call your oral surgery specialist if you have any concerns.

Factors that increase oral cancer risk:

  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Fair skin
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Gender (men are more prone to oral cancer than women)

Prevention is always the best way to avoid oral cancer. Discontinuing tobacco use may be the single most effective way to lower your risk, even if you’ve been using it for years.

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