Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, can occur in any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, and throat. Oral cancer screenings are essential for early detection, and dental professionals can do them through dental exams.
However, people should know many myths and facts surrounding oral cancer and oral care. Here, we have debunked some common myths and provided essential facts about oral cancer.
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer
People should be aware of oral cancer’s various signs and symptoms. Some common symptoms include persistent mouth sores, patches in the mouth, swelling in the mouth or neck, and difficulty chewing or swallowing. It may also include unexplained bleeding in the mouth, chronic hoarseness or sore throat, and numbness in the mouth or tongue.
Monthly dental cleaning and oral health screenings are essential to detect any abnormalities in the mouth. Some of the risk factors for developing oral cancer include those who smoke or use tobacco, consume alcohol excessively, have a family history of oral cancer, and those over the age of 50.
Myth vs. facts on oral cancer
There are many myths and misconceptions about oral cancer that people believe to be true. Let’s look at some of them:
For myth one, we have, “I can give myself an oral cancer screening if I know the signs.” The fact is, while it is essential to know how to identify oral cancer, self-diagnosing is not recommended. Oral cancer screenings should be performed by a qualified dental professional who can detect any abnormalities and recommend further dental exams or treatment.
For myth two, we have- “I am too young to get an oral cancer screening.” The fact is that oral cancer can affect people of any age, and dental cleaning appointments or dental checkups are essential regardless of age for your oral care.
Another myth is that “Oral cancer is not shared.” Again, it is a fact that oral cancer is more common than people think. Globally, it ranks sixth in terms of cancer incidence. Early detection through dental checkups and treatment can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment.
“Oral cancer screenings are only meant for smokers.” stands for myth number four. However, smoking and tobacco use are significant risk factors for oral cancer, but anyone can develop this disease. Therefore, dental cleaning schedules and oral cancer screenings are recommended for everyone.
How to lower the risks
Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of developing oral cancer. First, quit smoking or using tobacco products. You must also limit alcohol consumption. Protect your lips from the sun by wearing a lip balm containing SPF 15 or higher. You must also maintain good oral care by brushing and flossing regularly. This can be followed by going for regular dental checkups. Lastly, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Oral cancer is a severe disease that requires early detection and treatment. Regular dental exams and oral cancer screenings are critical for maintaining good oral health and reducing the risk of developing this disease.
By debunking the common myths surrounding oral cancer and following the tips to minimize the risks, we can take control of our oral health and protect ourselves from this disease.