Oral cancer is a common and often fatal disease due to late detection. Many people do not realize that oral cancer screenings are a routine part of your biannual checkup and cleaning at your dentist’s office. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and now is the best time to get screened and learn about symptoms and risk factors.

Symptoms of oral cancer

Certain symptoms will become visible in your mouth if you have developed oral cancer. If you begin to exhibit any of these signs persistently for two weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately for a checkup and screening:

  • Red and white patches in your mouth or lips. These patches may be painful and tender to the touch.
  • Sores that will not go away with brushing or mouthwash
  • Lumps inside the tissue within your cheek that may be rough or show signs of deterioration
  • Shifting that leads to a change in your bite
  • Trouble or pain while chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw

Risk factors

Risk factors for oral cancer include smoking and heavy drinking in individuals over the age of 50, but in recent years there has been a spike in cases in younger people who do not partake. This is related to cases of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cancer to develop in the area surrounding your tonsils. Symptoms of oral cancer caused by HPV include lumps or swelling in the neck and tonsils and difficulty swallowing. By maintaining your routine dental checkup and visit, your dentist will be able to perform screenings and detect anything unusual quickly and hopefully early, allowing you to begin treatment as soon as possible.

General Dentistry & Oral Cancer Screenings in Boston & Newton, MA

If you are interested in having oral cancer screenings become a routine part of your checkups and cleanings, please contact Newton Dental Associates today! Our team will be able to schedule you for a visit and perform any necessary work or screening. Newton Dental Associates can be reached by calling 617-965-0060 or filling out our online contact form.