According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “an estimated 54,600 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. Forty-three percent of those will not survive longer than five years, and many who survive will suffer from long-term problems, such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties with eating and speaking.”
This year marks the 24th Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month, nationally recognized to raise awareness and emphasize the importance of early oral cancer detection. Regular screenings performed by your dental professional are the best way to discover any potential problems as soon as they arise. When detected early, there is a much higher chance of surviving without long-term problems.
At Weaver, Reckner, and Reinhart Dental Associates, oral cancer screenings are a routine part of the dental examination. Oral cancers develop on areas of the tongue, in the mouth and gum tissue, under the base of the tongue, and the throat area at the back of the mouth. In between dental visits, self-examination is critical to catching any changes or new growths early in their development. Be “mouthaware” and follow these simple steps to conduct your own self-screening at home:
- Use a bright light and note any changes in spots, growths, or moles on your skin.
- Check your lower and upper lips for any sores. Be sure to extend your lips and feel for any changes in texture.
- Check around the sides and front of your neck for swelling or tender spots.
- Examine the roof of your mouth for any discoloration as well as inside your cheeks for white, red, or dark patches.
Some individuals may experience symptoms without realizing the potential health risks. A few common symptoms are:
- A feeling of something stuck in the throat.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- Swelling of the jaw or neck.
- A white or red patch in the mouth.
- A sore or lump in the mouth, throat, or lips.
As one of the leading dentists in Souderton and Harleysville, Weaver, Reckner & Reinhart Dental Associates is committed to providing our patients and their families with the highest quality of care.
Our full-service dental practice offers residents in Montgomery County and Bucks County with a range of procedures, including dental implants, root canal treatment, orthodontics, and facial rejuvenation. If you’re interested in more information regarding our practice or dental services, please contact one of our offices at 215-486-1649 or 215-486-1652.