Updated: Feb 15, 2020
Oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth including the lips, cheeks, gums, teeth or tongue. This month is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to remind you how important good oral hygiene is for your overall health — not just your mouth.
Common symptoms of oral cancer
If you have any of the following symptoms in your mouth, neck, throat, ears or face, the experienced doctors at the START Center for Cancer Care recommend a doctor’s visit to seek immediate treatment:
Sore(s) that will not heal
White or red patches inside the mouth
Persistent ear pain
Soreness in the throat
Difficulty swallowing or speaking
Unexplained numbness or pain
Keeping your teeth, gums and lips healthy with regular brushing and flossing can reduce your risk of halitosis (bad breath), tooth decay, gum disease and different types of oral cancer. An important part of good oral health and hygiene is scheduling regular visits with your dentist for check-ups and cleanings.
What else can I do to reduce my risk of oral cancer?
Seeing your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning can help catch any illnesses or issues before they become complicated. Here are a few more steps you can take to reduce your risk of oral cancer:
Use a lip balm that contains a sunscreen
Avoid tobacco products
Get regular exercise to boost your immune system
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
Drink alcohol in moderation
Get vaccinated for HPV (human papillomavirus)
Perform regular self-examinations
If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for you or a loved one with one of START’s highly trained, experienced cancer specialists, call 210-745-6841 or request an appointment using our easy online form.