Oral cancer affects men and women, usually over the age of 50, and is one of the leading types of cancer around the world. More than tens of thousands are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and the condition can quickly spread from the tongue or palate to other parts of the body, causing discomfort and pain. However, oral cancer can also sometimes be asymptomatic – and thousands of people are left undiagnosed each year. If oral cancer isn’t taken care of, it can result in loss of function in the mouth and face and even irregularities in the face. Luckily, your general dentists in Virginia Beach can catch the disease early with routine dental care twice a year.
Different types of oral cancer
There are two different types of oral cancer: the first is the cancer that starts inside of the cheeks, on the tongue, on the roof of the mouth or other parts of the mouth that can be seen with the naked eye or in a mirror. However, there is a second type of cancer that may be less obvious, affecting areas like the back of the tongue, the soft palate or even the tonsils. This type of cancer is known as oropharyngeal cancer.
There are different risk factors for these different types of oral cancer. When it comes to oropharyngeal cancers, one of the leading risk factors is the human papillomavirus, more commonly referred to as HPV. This virus is sexually transmitted and can lead to cervical cancer in women. There is no known cure for HPV, but the virus has a tendency to go away on its own with the help of a strong immune system after two to four years. Smoking cigarettes, pipes and cigars or even using chewing tobacco are other high risk factors for both types of oral cancer. Heavy amounts of sun exposure can also play a part in causing oral cancer.
When the cancer is found early, it can be treated and cured. However, some patients with oral cancer are classified in a more serious stage, which means they’ll need to go through a surgical procedure to help get rid of it. There are some setbacks to oral surgical procedures for oral cancer, however, such as certain functions of the face and mouth being disabled during and after the surgery. All doctors recommend a healthy dental hygiene regimen and healthy lifestyle to help decrease the chances of being diagnosed with oral cancer.
There is also another popular method to be proactive about oral cancer. Visiting your dentist office in Virginia Beach at least twice a year for regular dental check-ups in Virginia Beach and teeth cleaning is an excellent way to be on top of your oral health. After the dental hygienist is done with a routine cleaning, the dentist will come in and examine the teeth to make sure there is nothing out of the ordinary. Practicing preventative measures is a great way to avoid oral cancer or have it treated quickly if it is found. It’s extremely important to remember to visit a dentist every six months to a year for all of your proactive oral health needs. With a simple local dentist’s appointment, you can make sure your mouth is healthy and in the best condition and health possible.