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April is oral cancer awareness month and detecting and treating oral cancer in the earliest stages is vital for a successful outcome. At Fisher Distinctive Dentistry in Port Orchard, Washington, we want to help you created a healthy smile. Not only do we check for signs of tooth decay and gum disease at your checkups and exams, we look for any signs of abnormality in the oral cavity, including oral cancer.

Today we’re going to share with you a little bit about this condition to help create awareness and encourage you to look for signs of illness in between your bi-annual checkups and cleanings. This is important because it is estimated that in 2018 alone, more than 51,000 people in the United States will learn that they have oral cancer.

So, what is oral cancer? Basically, this disease arises when abnormal cells start dividing uncontrollably and result in malignancy or cancer. Any area of soft tissues in the mouth can become cancerous. This includes abnormalities on the lip (usually the bottom lip), tongue, back of the throat, salivary glands, esophagus, or tonsils.

Be aware of sore areas in the mouth that appear white or red and which bleed easily, particularly if they don’t heal within two weeks. Also, unusual thickness (or cyst) in the cheeks, areas of numbness, problems chewing and swallowing, any jaw swelling or discover a change in your voice.

Along with increased awareness of unusual developments in your oral health, you can take proactive measures to lower your risk of oral cancer. Three things you can do are avoid tobacco in any form, limit your alcohol intake and wear sunscreen on your lips when outdoors. And finally, make sure to keep your routine dental checkups.

If you notice anything unusual in your smile, feel free to reach out to our office to schedule a visit. Our goal is to promote prevention and early diagnosis/treatment. Please call 360-876-0445 to book a checkup with one of our doctors, Dr. Devin Fisher and Dr. Zachary Bergevin. We are here for your oral health!