How to Spot Signs of Oral Cancer

Closeup of a dentist holding a beige and maroon ribbon that indicates oral cancer awareness

Cancer of any kind is many people’s worst fear when it comes to health issues. As scary as the diagnosis of “cancer” in any context may seem, the good news is that oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancer are highly treatable if caught early!

Identifying cancer in the mouth and throat early can happen if you know what symptoms to look out for and have routine checkups with your healthcare providers. Here are common warning signs of oral cancer:

Unusual Patches

One of the most common red flags for oral cancer are patches in the mouth or throat that don’t match the surrounding area. If you see distinct patches that are white, gray, or red, then it’s a good idea to get them checked out.

Chronic Mouth Sores & Rough Spots

You should also keep an eye out for sores inside your mouth and on your lip that won’t heal like a normal wound. These sores may also bleed easily and/or look rough or crusty.

Other Common Signs

Additional common signs of oral cancer include numbness in the mouth, difficulty or pain while swallowing, difficulty with jaw movement, and loose permanent teeth. These are all things that should be checked out by a medical professional, though oral cancer may not be the final diagnosis.

Routine Oral Cancer Screening

The best way to get an accurate oral cancer diagnosis is to visit a dentist for a screening, particularly if you notice something unusual in your mouth. Refrain from Googling your symptoms and self-diagnosing with a medical condition based upon what you read online. Save yourself time and worry by consulting with your healthcare professionals in-person.

At Farmington Dental & Orthodontics, we recommend visiting us at least every six months so we can help you prevent and treat dental disease early. We perform oral cancer screenings as part of our routine checkups. Please contact us today to schedule your next appointment!

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