April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month | New Orleans

Oral cancer is a condition that occurs when cancerous cells begin to grow inside of the mouth. Oral cancer can affect the gums, tongue, the roof of the mouth, the inside lining of the cheeks and floor of the mouth. It is estimated that 42,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer each year.

Poor oral hygiene, smoking, heavy alcohol use and the human papilloma virus are some of the things that can put a person at risk for developing oral cancer. However, 25 percent of the people who are diagnosed with oral cancer do not have any of those risk factors. Your general dentists at Barataria Dental is critical in catching this disease early.

A sore, ulcer or lump in the mouth is one of the first signs of oral cancer. Patients may also experience weight loss, tongue problems, speech difficulties and swallowing difficulties. If oral cancer is left untreated, then it will begin to spread to the throat, neck and other parts of the body.

The good news is that the death rates from oral cancer are decreasing thanks to early diagnosis and treatment. Furthermore, if the cancer is detected before it spreads to other parts of the body, then the cure rate is approximately 90 percent. That is why it is very important for you to see a dentist every six months for an examination. During the examination, your general dentist in the New Orleans area will check your mouth for sores or ulcers. If your dentist finds an unusual sore, then you may be required to undergo further testing.

There are several things that you can do that will reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. You should make sure that you practice good oral hygiene. You also want to make sure that you avoid the use of cigarettes and limit your use of alcohol.