November is National Mouth Cancer Awareness Month. This month has been selected as the time to focus on mouth cancer awareness and prevention. According to the Oral Health Foundation on Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, almost 300,000 cases of this disease are diagnosed each year. What exactly is mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer is caused by a mutation of the cells in your mouth. This mutation causes the cell to act irregularly. By this, the cell will continue to grow and divide, eventually pushing out the healthy cells. You may be able to tell if you have mouth cancer if you experience a lump in your mouth, mouth pain that does not go away, sores, or pain when swallowing.
Many sources suggest that tobacco use is one of the primary causes of mouth cancer. Additionally, other causes can be linked to excessive alcohol use, poor dieting habits, and poor oral hygiene. Luckily, mouth cancer can successfully be treated if spotted early enough. Some tips given by MayoClinic on prevention of mouth cancer include…
-Quitting smoking / chewing tobacco
-Limiting alcohol usage
-Routine dental checkups
Each of these make perfect sense. For one, each dentist will advise that smoking and chewing tobacco are never healthy – both for your dental health as well as your overall health. Limiting alcohol usage is another way to prevent mouth cancer. A drink or two once in a while is not a problem; when that drinking becomes excessive, you are putting yourself at risk.
It is never a bad time to have your dentist check for mouth cancer if you suspect you may have it or if you just want to be safe. See if you qualify to become a patient at HealthLink Dental Clinic, and we would be happy to check for you!