woman mouth open for dental examinationAs Oral Cancer Awareness Month approaches, dentists are emphasizing the importance of receiving preventive care. That’s because it’s the best way to avoid the development of the life-threatening disease. Read on to learn about oral cancer and how your dentist in Colorado Springs can help you stay as healthy as possible.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Any form of cancer involves the expression of harmful genes that can begin to multiply at dangerous levels. Cancerous cells develop all the time in the human body, but the internal protective system called the immune system, when properly functioning, works to destroy them before they become problematic.

When there is a breakdown in the immune function, though, and oral cancer develops, it can impact the mouth and throat. Here are some of the more common symptoms:

  • A sore or irritated throat that doesn’t seem to get any better
  • Red or white patches on the soft tissues in the mouth
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

A Major Contributor to the Development of Oral Cancer

The first step to preventing the development of oral cancer is to understand the role bacteria growth can play. If they are allowed to grow and to develop into plaque, there can be tooth and gum decay.

Then, if unaddressed, the bacteria can lead to the development of gum disease, which is the inflammation and infection of the gums. Untreated, it has been found to play a significant role in the development of oral cancer, a diagnosis that statistics predict nearly 50,000 Americans will receive this year, and nearly 8,000 people will succumb to.

A Simple Method of Prevention

One of the simplest yet effective ways to prevent oral cancer is to visit your dentist regularly for preventive care. While there, you’ll receive a thorough cleaning to remove any lingering plaque and tartar that could contribute to the development of oral cancer.

Then, you’ll undergo a full examination, which includes a screening for oral cancer. This is critical to have because statistics show that with early detection, the five-year survival rate increases to 75%. However, when patients take a more reactive approach and wait until they are experiencing more acute symptoms, the survival rate drops significantly to around 20%.

So to protect yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local dentist to receive the expert care you need. Therefore, you’ll be able to lead a healthy and productive life.

About the Author

Dr. Gregory M. Solich earned his dental degree from the University of Colorado. Throughout his career, he has remained committed to expanding his knowledge, which is why he has taken several hours of continuing education, which includes advanced postgraduate training from the Pankey Institute. With over 35 years of experience in the dental field, Dr. Solich is able to help patients avoid oral cancer and enjoy the absolute best in dental health at Exceptional Smiles by Solich, and he can be reached for more information through his website.

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