Check Your Mouth on Regular Basis
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
Oral Cancer is the 11th most common carcinoma in the world (1).
What is oral cancer? Oral Cancer is the most common cancer of the head and neck.
It is cancer that may affect the following:
- floor of the mouth
- roof of the mouth
- inside of the cheeks
- the back of the throat
The risk factors associated with oral cancer:
- smokeless tobacco
- extencive exposure to sun
- HPV (HPV-16 Strain to be exact)
There are things we cannot control like our genetic make up. The genes might predispose some to cancers including oral cancer. It is a blueprint after all. When one is at risk, modifying other risk factors may keep disease at bay.
Little adjustments in lifestyle like diet and exercise have a tremendous effect on health. Diet rich in fruits and vegetable has been shown to reduce cancer risk (3). Also, it’s been shown that combing risk factors like smoking and alcohol consumption has an additive effect profoundly increasing the risk.
Who is more at risk of oral cancer (2):
- Age: Over the age of 50
- Gender: Men (twice as likely)
- Race/Ethnicity: Caucasians
- Lower Socio-economics status
- Lower Education
- Lifetime sexual partners
Oral cancer screenings at home and at Floss Bosses are an integral part of prevention. At each and every appointment whether a quick check up or at the teeth cleaning appointment, patients are screened for Oral Cancer.
However, it is not only important to have an oral cancer screen at Floss Bosses. It is even more important to perform it at home. Early detection saves lives. Knowing your mouth saves lives. Education and how to perform Self Oral Exam saves lives. At Floss Bosses, we teach our patients what to look for. Any changes in texture, colour, size that are unilateral and do not resolve on their own after 2 weeks must be checked. It is imperative to know your mouth and visually check it. Pain is not necessary an indicator of oral cancer. It may not be present even if there are cellular changes.
Open Door Policy at Floss Bosses helps our patients with early detection. Mortality rate from oral cancer is still high due to late detection and diagnosis. Only half of ones diagnosed with it will be alive 5 year after. Oral Cancer has higher mortality rate than cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes (4).
To all my non-dentals, go floss, brush, get your teeth cleaned, mouth checked & smile for better oral health!