Author: MetroCreative Connection

Oral cancer is a significant threat across the globe. Data from the World Health Organization indicates that more than 450,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year.

The Oral Cancer Foundation notes that oral cancers are part of a group of cancers referred to as head and neck cancers. All cancers in that group are potentially dangerous, but oral cancers account for roughly 85 percent of all head and neck cancer diagnoses, which underscores the importance of routine oral health checkups. The Moffitt Cancer Center® in Florida notes that many dentists perform oral cancer screenings during routine checkups, which dispels the notion that checkups are unnecessary for individuals who practice proper dental hygiene every day.

The American Dental Association notes there is not a one-size-fits-all regimen for dental health. However, at least two visits to a dentist per year can ensure teeth stay clean and afford dentists opportunities to screen for oral cancers and detect other issues, including gingivitis. In addition to scheduling routine checkups, individuals can learn to spot the common symptoms of oral cancer. The Moffitt Cancer Center urges individuals to seek medical attention if any of these signs persist for more than two weeks:

A sore, irritation or thickness in the mouth or throat

• A white or red patch on the inside of the mouth

• A feeling that something is caught in the throat

• Hoarseness or other vocal changes

• Persistent coughing

• Difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking

• Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue

• Numbness in the mouth

• Swelling in the jaw or neck

• Frequent nosebleeds

• Ear pain that does not affect your hearing

Unexplained weight loss

It’s important that individuals recognize that the presence of these symptoms is not necessarily indicative of the presence of oral cancer. Some of these symptoms could indicate the presence of other issues that also require medical attention. For example, frequent nosebleeds could indicate high blood pressure or a blood clotting disorder, while unexplained weight loss is a potential indicator of diabetes.

Oral health is important, and routine checkups are vital to maintaining that health. Such checkups can help dentists spot various conditions, including oral cancer.