Signs of Mouth Cancer

By: Nicole Schmoll

How Big of a Problem is Big League Chew?

The bubble gum marketed as “Big League Chew” is relatively harmless unless it encourages a child to pick up the real thing. More than 500,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Habitual use of smokeless tobacco is the leading cause of oral cancer worldwide.

The sad reality of oral cancer is that by the time it is diagnosed, it has often spread throughout the body and is too late to effectively control. The good news is that oral cancer is easy to catch early at regular dental checkups or doctor visits.

Detecting Oral Cancer

The best way to find out if you have oral cancer is to have your doctor or dentist examine your tongue, mouth, throat, cheeks and lips. If your dentist sees anything abnormal, he or she will order a biopsy to check the tissue.

Once diagnosed, oral cancer is treated through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. In addition to seeing your dentist, you can run through this checklist for common symptoms of oral cancer:

• Mouth sores that don’t heal
• Loose teeth
• Lump in the neck, jaw, tongue, cheek or gums
• Earache that won’t go away
• Dentures that don’t fit
• Persistent bad breath
• Unexplained weight loss
• Change in voice

If you have one of these symptoms, don’t diagnose yourself with oral cancer. Go see your dentist and ask for an oral cancer screening.

Preventing Oral Cancer

There are a few lifestyle choices you can make to significantly reduce your chances of developing oral cancer:

• Trash Tobacco
• Avoid Alcohol
• Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits
• Avoid exposure to radiation and chewing quids of betel
• Brush, floss and see your dentist regularly

A semi-annual checkup will help your mouth in more ways that you could have imagined.

Oral Doctor