April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time when dental professionals across the country join forces to raise awareness about the risks of oral cancer and the importance of early detection. At Midway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Alpharetta, GA, we’re committed to promoting oral health and educating our patients about the importance of regular oral cancer screenings.

Oral cancer is a serious disease that can affect any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, and throat. Like many forms of cancer, it can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early. That’s why it’s so important to schedule regular dental checkups and oral cancer screenings, especially if you’re at higher risk for developing oral cancer.

Some common risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use (including smoking and smokeless tobacco), heavy alcohol consumption, a family history of cancer, and exposure to certain viruses, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV). However, it’s important to note that anyone can develop oral cancer, even if they don’t have any of these risk factors.

Here are some common signs of oral cancer to watch out for:

  • Sores or ulcers in the mouth that don’t heal within two weeks
  • Red or white patches on the gums, tongue, or other areas of the mouth
  • Swelling or lumps in the mouth, neck, or throat
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Pain or tenderness in the mouth, throat, or ears
  • Numbness or tingling in the mouth or lips
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth or changes in the fit of dentures
  • Changes in the voice or speech, such as hoarseness or slurred speech
  • Unexplained weight loss

It’s important to note that not all of these symptoms may be present in every case of oral cancer. Some people may experience only one or two symptoms, while others may have several. That’s why it’s so important to schedule regular dental checkups and screenings with your dentist, even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms.

During an oral cancer screening, your dentist will examine your mouth for any signs of abnormal tissue growth, such as sores, lumps, or discoloration. They may also use special tools to look for signs of cancer that may not be visible to the naked eye. If your dentist detects any potential issues, they may recommend further testing, such as a biopsy, to determine whether or not you have oral cancer.

At Midway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we’re committed to providing our patients with the highest quality care, including comprehensive oral cancer screenings. If you’re due for a checkup or if you have any concerns about your oral health, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our office. Together, we can work to promote oral health and prevent oral cancer.

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