Inigo Dentistry Blog

May 17

Oral Cancer Awareness: Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Early Detection

oral health

Know The Signs of Oral Cancer For Early Detection

Oral cancer is a serious disease that affects the mouth, lips, or throat. It can be scary, but learning about it is important. Dr. John Inigo from Ridgeway Dentistry in Ridgeway, ON, and Bertie Dental Office in Fort Erie, ON can teach you how to spot signs of oral cancer early. Catching it quickly gives you the best chance of successful treatment. 

In this blog, we’ll cover oral cancer symptoms, risk factors, and what to do if you notice anything unusual. Call 905-871-2903 today to schedule your preventative dental appointment at our Ridgeway and Fort Erie dental offices. 

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Oral cancer can cause different symptoms depending on where it starts. Common signs include:

  • A sore, lump, or thick patch in your mouth, lips, or throat
  • A white or red patch on your gums, tongue, or lining of your mouth
  • A feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • Numbness in your tongue or other areas of your mouth
  • Jaw swelling that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable

If you notice any of these, don’t wait! Visit your Ontario dentist right away.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Certain things increase your chances of getting oral cancer. The biggest risk factors are:

  • Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes
  • Using chewing tobacco or snuff
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol

Other risks include:

  • Too much sun exposure (for lip cancer)
  • A diet lacking fruits and veggies
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • A weakened immune system

The more of these risks you have, the higher your chances of oral cancer.

Early Oral Cancer Detection Saves Lives

Finding oral cancer early is crucial. It gives you the best opportunity for treatment to work. Dentists like Dr. Inigo are trained to check for signs during routine dental exams at our Ridgeway and Fort Erie dental offices. Here’s what he does:

Oral Cancer Screening

  • Examines your lips, mouth, throat, tongue, and tonsils
  • Feels for lumps or swellings
  • May use a special dye or light to highlight abnormalities

Dr. Inigo knows just what to look for. If he sees anything suspicious, he’ll discuss the next steps with you.

What To Do

If Dr. Inigo finds an area of concern, he may order additional tests like:

  • A brush biopsy to collect cells for testing
  • An imaging scan like a CT, PET, or MRI
  • A surgical biopsy to remove a tissue sample

These give more information to determine if cancer is present and how to proceed. Follow all advice from Dr. Inigo and any specialists he recommends. Treating oral cancer promptly gives you the highest cure rate.

Reduce Your Oral Cancer Risks

While you can’t control every risk factor, you can take steps to lower your oral cancer odds:

  • Quit all tobacco products (smoking, chewing, etc.)
  • Only drink alcohol in moderation
  • Use UV protection on your lips when outside
  • Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and veggies
  • Get the HPV vaccine if eligible

Living a generally healthy lifestyle with moderation is one of your best defenses against oral cancer.

See Dr. Inigo Today

Don’t ignore symptoms or skip dental visits! Oral cancer screening at your check-ups with Dr. Inigo at Ridgeway Dentistry in Ridgeway, ON or Bertie Dental Office in Fort Erie, ON is essential. He’ll know if anything seems out of the ordinary in your mouth. Early detection provides the greatest chance of curing oral cancer. See Dr. Inigo every six months or immediately if you notice any of the symptoms listed in this blog. Call 905-871-2903 to schedule your appointment at our Ontario dental offices.