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Sunee Salpetch, DDS
A Dental Visit Could Save Your Life
Springfield Complete Dentistry
. http://www.springfieldcompletedentistry.com/

A Dental Visit Could Save Your Life

What do Babe Ruth, Sigmund Freud, Aaron Spelling, Eddie Van Halen, Rod Stewart, and Sammy Davis, Jr. all have in common? They have all been victims of oral cancer. This deadly disease has touched the lives of many and you may be next. Startling statistics from the American Cancer Society estimate that every hour of every day, one American dies of oral cancer. Oral Cancer strikes tens of thousands of Americans each year and only about 56% of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive more than five years. This death rate has virtually gone unchanged over the past 40 years. And although death rates for cancers overall has gone down, the incidence of oral cancer has increased by 5.5% and the death rate has increased by 1.5%.
The reason for the devastating statistics is that oral cancer is often detected in its later stages. But when it is detected early, before the disease spreads to destroy healthy tissues, the chances of survival are greatly improved. A thorough oral cancer screening each time you visit your dentist could save your life. During the exam, your dentist may feel for lumps or abnormal tissue changes on your neck and inside your mouth. They may also thoroughly examine the soft tissues in your mouth, especially the most frequent oral cancer sites the tongue, under the tongue, the roof of the mouth, lips, and gums.
Let your dentist know if you notice any of these warning signs
A red, white, or discolored patch or lump in or around your mouth
A sore that does not heal or that bleeds easily
An area that seems to have thickened, raised, or become hardened
Difficulty chewing or swallowing
A chronic sore throat or hoarseness
Or a rough patch of tissue.
Do not ignore a mouth sore just because it doesnt hurt. Most pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions are completely painless.
You can also lower your chances of developing oral cancer by making some lifestyle changes. Dont smoke or use chewing tobacco, and avoid excessive alcohol usage. Although alcohol and tobacco are the main lifestyle risk factors, 27% of oral cancer victims have no lifestyle risk factors. Age is the primary risk factor. Approximately 90% of oral cancer victims are age 40 and older, and most are men. Recent studies indicate that increasingly younger people are being diagnosed with oral cancer. Be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year for your regular checkups and to have oral cancer screenings.
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