While they say the eyes are the window to the soul, the mouth can be a window to your overall health.
Oral health problems and symptoms are often related to other health issues, and can be the first signs and symptoms of other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Our dentists routinely perform oral cancer screenings during your routine dental examination, but if you’re overdue for your dental check-up and cleaning then there is no better time to schedule it than Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April.
Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. In between dental visits, it is important for patients to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see a dental professional if they do not improve or disappear after two weeks:
- a sore, or soreness or irritation that doesn’t go away
- red or white patches, pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips
- lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas
- difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
FACTORS THAT MAY INCREASE RISK:
Research has identified a number of factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. Historically, those at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer have been heavy drinkers and smokers over the age of 50, however, today oral cancer is also occurring more frequently in younger, nonsmoking people. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is related to the increasing incidence of oropharyngeal cancer in this younger population. HPV caused oropharyngeal cancer may present with one or more of the following persistent (present for more than 2 weeks) signs and symptoms:
- a painless lump or swelling felt in the neck
- sore throat, difficulty swallowing, or pain when swallowing
- swelling of the tonsillar areas at the back of the mouth
Being aware of the symptoms and risk factors of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are paramount for early detection and treatment, which can be the key to a complete recovery.
To read more about the importance of oral health on your overall health, visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475
And if it’s been a while since your last dental check up, give us a call at 718-863-5077 to schedule an appointment right away, because good oral health is essential to your overall health.
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