April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral cancers are the sixth most common cancers in the world. According to the National Institute of Health, it is estimated that approximately 91,200 people in the US are living with oral cancer, and approximately 37,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.

Two known major risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption.  Giving us another great reason to give up smoking and be healthier! Another great tip is always use sunscreen, even on your lips. Exposure to the sun can also increase your risk of lip cancer.

While performing your daily oral hygiene routine, keep an eye on the soft tissues of your mouth. If you develop a sore that doesn’t heal within two weeks you should see your dentist to get it checked out.

Oral cancer screenings are a routine part of your dental examinations. During an exam, your dentist will carefully examine the tissues of the mouth and tongue and take note of anything that might be out of the ordinary. When found early, it can give you a better chance for successful treatment.  As public awareness and education about oral cancers increase, early detection will improve.