Just a few nights ago, The 2018 Stand Up To Cancer(SU2C) 6thannual live fundraising telecast bound together all the major broadcast networks and a multitude of the biggest names in entertainment, for a night filled with music, comedy, and inspiration for a single cause—fighting cancer.
At Comprehensive Dental Group we take our patients oral health very seriously, so we watched intently as this telecast brings in quite a bit of donationsfor an organization that is helping to make an impact on cancer research and the battle to eradicate all forms of cancer.
This year’s event was an important benchmark in SU2C as they have entered their 10thyear of raising funds for cancer research that is aggressively seeking to find a cure for a wide range of cancers, as well as innovations in treatment for existing cancer patients.
Doing Our Part To Stand Up To Cancer
While a majority of our practice involves cosmetic dentistry in Houston, we are still rooted in our goal of maintaining good oral health. Often, in fact—cosmetic procedures aim to help foster that good oral health such as Invisalign® procedures that correct bite and alignment improving chewing and other daily functions.
What we want to focus on today, however, is deeper than a perfect smile or state-of-the-art teeth whitening procedures. We want to do our part to Stand Up To Cancerusing the one resource we have that is abundant—knowledge.
Being one of the leading dentists in Houston, we see a lot of dental problems and some of those symptoms we see can raise concern about oral cancer. Surprisingly many people don’t realize how significant the number of annual oral cancers is. Nearly fifty thousand people are handed a diagnosis of some type of oral cancer in America alone every year.
We may not be able to cure cancer here at Comprehensive Dental Group, but what we can do is empower our patients with information on how to spot the signs that can indicate oral cancer early. As with most cancers—early detection is key, so look out for these possible signs:
Possible Signs Of Oral Cancer You Don’t Ignore
Even though most times, a mouth sore is something harmless and benign such as a canker sore or abscess—sometimes it can be the sign of something deeper. Most canker sores or an abscess clear up within about 8-10 days. If you have a sore that lingers for about two weeks or more, it should definitely be diagnosed immediately by your dr. Also, the texture of the sore can give you a hint as to its possibility of being cancerous. Abscess ulcers tend to be very thin and soft and canker sores don’t usually bleed. Tumors, on the other hand, are thick and hard and bleed quite often.
Halitosis (Chronic Bad Breath)
When a tumorin the mouth outgrows itsblood supply it forms an ulcer and that ulcer can get infected. That bacteria carries with it a putrid smell that is different than your standard “morning breath.” This smell will not go away with brushing or mouthwash and the pain you’ll experience might make it hard to swallow which is the body’s natural remedy to flush bacteria. Chances are it could be something as minor as tonsillitis or a non-cancer related infection due to bad hygiene. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry if you have bad breath that lastsfor two or more weeks.
Red Or White Blotches
While blotches of these colors on your gums, tongue, or the roof of your mouth may not indicate the presenceof cancer—they could be signs a tumor has the potentialto develop. Again, follow the standardprotocol of getting it checked out regardless if the blotches last more than two weeks.
This is one that surprises a lot of people, especially most first-yeardental students and doctors. Ear pain doesn’t always mean the source is the ears themselves. When you have ear pain that only hurts on one side of your head it could be a sign of oral cancer. The nerves that feed your tongue, uvula and your voice box all link to the ear—so the pain signals travel back and forth and radiate. See your doctor if you notice persistent pain in just one ear. Ear infections are not common in healthy adults and they affect both sides of the head if it isindeed an ear infection. If it turns out to be something as insignificant as swimmers ear—it’s still better to know.
If you’ve ever bitten your tongue by accident or eaten a piece of piping hot pizza too quickly—then you already know how extremely sensitive the tongue is. As sensitive as your fingertips, pain from a sore or cut on the tongue can be extremely painful but it can also be a sign of something more serious. Don’t sleep on it—make the next possible appointment with your doctor. Early detection—are you seeing a pattern yet?
Unintentional Weight Loss
As with most cancers,the presence of cancerous tumors can affect other areas of the body and cause a significant drop in weight that isn’t intentional. This should always be discussed with your doctor in case it is something serious.
A cancerous tumor in your mouth can get large enough to cause nerve damage in your mouth leaving you with a numbness in an isolated part of the mouth. Typically, if it’s from cancer the numbness will be preceded by pain for several months.
Lump in neck
For all intents and purposes,if you are over 40 and notice a lump in your neck, you should consider it cancer until proven it’s not—that is just how serious this symptom should be treated. There really arevery few reasons for a lump in the neck that aren’t related to cancer. The reason is—when oral cancer spreads, usually it’s to the lymph nodes just below your jawline. It could be a simple inflammation of your nodes but even then, that is a condition that should also be looked at.
Don’t Give Up—Stand Up. Be Proactive With Your Oral Health!
The best way to be on top of your oral health and to detect symptoms of oral cancer early is with regular visits to your favorite Houston dentist. At Comprehensive Dental Group, we are always looking for irregular developments in your mouth whether insignificant or worth checking out further. Don’t neglect your oral health contact us today to schedule an oral exam and Stand Up To Cancer!