Oral cancer is a type of disease that affects the tissues in the mouth or throat. These tissues can include the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, roof, and floor of the mouth. Like most cancers, oral cancer is best treated when detected early, but it can be difficult to detect in its beginning stages. Luckily, our Fairfield dentist is here to help.
Yearly dental check-ups are the easiest and most effective way to detect oral cancer early. If it has been more than one year since your last dental check-up, contact Dr. Gary Horblitt in Fairfield, CT. He can help you verify your health and get proactive treatments that benefit your whole body. Simply call (203) 335-1011 to get started!
Being aware of the subtle signs of oral cancer is important. In this blog post, Dr. Horblitt explores some signs and symptoms that may indicate the initial stages of head, neck, and mouth cancers.
Sores or Ulcers That Do Not Heal
One of the most common signs of oral cancer is the appearance of sores or ulcers in the mouth that do not heal. These sores may appear as white or red patches on the tongue, gums, cheeks, or other areas in the mouth.
While it is easy to assume that all sores and ulcers are painful, some patients cannot feel them at all. Bloody saliva may be the only sign that mouth lesions are not healing. This can be dangerous, as open sores are the ideal place for bacteria to invade, which can cause painful infections.
New Lumps, Bumps, and Spots
Aside from sores and ulcers, new lumps, bumps, and spots in and around the mouth may be a sign of something serious. These new spots can be:
- Raised or flat
- Painless or painful
- Open or closed
- Red or white in color
It is extremely difficult to diagnose new spots on your own. So, we recommend contacting our Fairfield dentist as soon as you see new lumps and bumps forming.
Difficulty Chewing or Swallowing
Oral cancer can affect your ability to chew and swallow food. It can also cause unwanted sensations, such as:
- Pain while chewing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling like something is stuck in your throat
Changes In Speech
Head, neck, and mouth cancers can affect the muscles in and around your mouth. This can cause slurring or difficulty forming certain sounds while speaking.
Numbness or Tingling in the Mouth
Cancer can destroy nerve cells, which can lead to numbness or tingling over time. Oral cancer may begin as a numb or itchy feeling in the mouth. If it does not go away after a few days, contact Dr. Horblitt immediately.
Painful ears may be an indicator of oral cancer. Persistent ringing in the ears or bouts of vertigo are also common signs of nasopharyngeal cancers.
Loose Teeth and Thickening Oral Tissue
Cancer can drastically alter the structure and function of oral tissues, including the teeth. If you notice rapidly thickening oral tissues or suddenly loose teeth, contact a dentist right away.
Get an Oral Cancer Screening in Fairfield, CT
Roughly 12,000 people die from oral cancer every year. Early detection is the best way to prevent the disease from progressing too far. Request your yearly oral cancer screening with Dr. Horblitt now at (203) 335-1011 or online here!