Oral Cancer Warning Signs You Need To Know

Did you know that 14% of people will experience a dental emergency of some kind during their lifetime? It’s important to have a proper action plan ready when they do happen, so here are some common emergencies and how you can handle them.

Toothache – The pain of a toothache can come in many variations. It can be sudden and piercing, or more of a throb. The cause can be due to decay, a broken tooth, a crack, an infection, a lost restoration, and more. For temporary relief, hold a warm cloth against your cheek. If your cheek is swollen, use a cool compress intermittently. But the important thing to do is call us at (717) 678-7073 and make an appointment. Toothaches may subside, but the pain will return 100%. Teeth do not heal on their own and need our help. We’ll relieve the pain and address the issue quickly.

Chipped Or Broken Tooth – If you chip or break a tooth,

Oral cancer is something we all need to know about as over 56,000 North Americans will be diagnosed this year, and of those, nearly 11,000 will die because of it. The key is to catch it in its early stages and begin treatment immediately.

When we talk about oral cancer, we are including cancer of the soft tissues of the tongue, cheek, tonsils, soft palate, pharynx, lips, and salivary glands.

The most commons symptoms of oral cancer may include:

  • swollen lumps or bumps inside the mouth and on the gums
  • red or white patches in the mouth
  • bleeding or numbness in any area of the mouth or neck
  • sores that last longer than two weeks
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw
  • ear pain
  • persistent cough
  • breathing problems
  • voice changes (hoarseness usually)
  • a change in how teeth fit together.

Like any other health concerns, changes in your mouth should not be ignored. If you’re experiencing anything out of the ordinary, contact us, your dentist in Harrisburg, for an oral cancer screening to investigate.

7 Known Causes Of Oral Cancer

There are several risk factors that can drastically increase your chances of oral cancer. They’re both physiological and habitual in nature.

  1. Weak Immune System – People with weak immune systems are at a higher risk of oral cancer. Your immune system may become weak after an organ transplant or if you suffer from autoimmune disease (e.g. multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, vitiligo, psoriasis, alopecia, etc.).
  2. Tobacco – Whether you smoke it or chew it, tobacco use increases the likelihood of developing oral cancer by six times.
  3. Diet – If your diet lacks fruits and veggies, you could be at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Try to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains which are all main sources of vitamins and fibre. Other preventative measures include consuming micronutrients like vitamins C and E, antioxidants, zinc, beta-carotene, and folate.
  4. Alcohol – The more alcohol you consume, the more your risk increases. Alcohol helps harmful chemicals enter the cells that line the mouth, throat, and esophagus. If you drink and smoke at the same time, your risk increases even more.
  5. Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) – This virus infects the cells at the base of the tongue and of the throat, and when it does, it introduces a greater risk of oral cancer development. Symptoms can be subtle and painless.
  6. Prior cancer survivor – If you have had cancer before, for a certain range of time, there is a greater chance of developing cancer again. Your general practitioner or cancer specialist will be able to provide more information to you based on your unique situation.
  7. Sun exposure – Sun exposure increases the risk of developing lip cancer. This is especially true for fair-skinned people or people who spend a lot of time outside on a daily basis – gardeners, golfers, construction workers, etc. When you do anticipate sun exposure, use sunscreen, wear a hat that shades your face, and apply (often) a lip balm with SPF.

call us at American Dental Care of Harrisburg immediately. If the chip or break is due to an impact, rinse your mouth as soon as possible to remove any possible debris or dirt. Sports injuries are a major cause of these injuries, so be sure to always wear a mouthguard during any sport where there’s a risk of contact with another player or any surface. We can make a professionally fitted mouthguard for you right here in our office.

Knocked-Out Tooth – Bite on a clean cloth or gauze if you have it. This will help stop any bleeding. For a permanent tooth, gently rinse it holding it by the crown (white enamel part) only, remove the gauze, and place the tooth back in its socket. If that’s not possible, put the tooth in a container and cover it with milk or saline solution. Either way, come to us immediately. If possible, call us at (717) 678-7073 first so that we can be prepared to immediately deliver our compassionate care.

Extruded Tooth – An extruded tooth is a tooth that is partially displaced from its natural position, usually due to an impact and is often sports related. If you have a tooth pushed inward or outward, don’t force the tooth back into position. Call us, your dentist in Harrisburg, for immediate assistance.

Badly Bitten Lip Or Tongue – If there is bleeding, use a clean cloth or gauze and press down on the cut. If the lip is swollen, use an ice pack to help reduce the swelling. If the bleeding does not stop, you should be seen by an ER doctor who will assess if you require stitches or not.

Something Stuck Between Teeth – First, never poke between your teeth with a pin or similar sharp, pointy object as it can cut your gums, cause infection, or scratch your tooth’s enamel. Always use dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object. If you can't remove it, call (717) 678-7073. And here’s a tip: Never ever flush your floss … or you’ll have another type of emergency that only a plumber can fix!