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Though it’s often less spoken about than other types of cancer, oral and tongue cancer can be very serious and leave lasting if not fatal effects on a patient. At Printers Row Dental Studio and Chicago Veneers, we believe thorough oral cancer screenings and preventative care can save a patient’s life.

While cancer may pick its victims at random, it’s crucial to brush twice daily and floss at least once a day to avoid cancer-causing diseases like advanced periodontal disease. Additionally, regular trips to the dentists (twice a year!) may decrease your chances of severe oral conditions since dentists check each patient’s mouth for signs of oral cancer and other diseases.

Warning Signs of Tongue Cancer

It can be hard to self-detect issues such as oral cancer since a person can only view so much of their own mouth. However, if you experience these issues for an extended period of time, please contact your dentist or a medical health professional immediately.

Warning signs of oral and tongue cancer:

  • Mouth and lip sores that don’t seem to heal
  • Lumpiness or thickening of oral tissue
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • Throat pain or the constant feeling of something trapped in the throat
  • Red, black and/or white patches inside the mouth or on the lip 
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Oral bleeding, pain or numbness
  • Vocal change

Causes of Tongue Cancer

We all know tobacco products like cigarettes and vapes are the leading cause of oral cancer. But what about the lesser known causes or oral cancer? See below:

  • Previous exposure to HPV
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • A weakened immune system
  • Poor diet and nutrition
  • Excessive sun exposure

Can a Dentist Determine If I Have Oral Cancer?

Typically, a dentist screens each patient for oral cancer, checking the back of the mouth and under the tongue for any suspicious spots. However, not every form of oral cancer is visibly seen from a dentist’s point of view. While the first signs of cancer appear on the lips, gums, tongue and cheek lining, oral cancer may also take place in the patient’s throat. It’s important to report any warning signs or symptoms of tongue cancer to your dentist or doctor so they may perform a more thorough screening. 

A dentist may ask you the following questions if you report symptoms:

  1. Has this sore or irritation gone away?
  2. Have you seen red or white patches inside your mouth?
  3. Did you notice a change in the way your teeth fit once you close your mouth?
  4. Is there a lump, thickened, rough or eroded area in your mouth?

Additionally, if you remain up to date on your dental check-ups, you’ll remain more informed about your current oral health status.

Oral and Tongue Cancer Removal and Treatment

Unfortunately, most cases of oral cancer are caught in its late stages. The late diagnosis leaves patients at risk of facial disfigurement and difficulty with speech and articulation. 

Oral cancer is no joke — At least every hour of the day, 1 person dies of oral cancer. With comprehensive screenings and regular dental check-ins, we can curve this number and catch oral and tongue cancer in its early stage before creating serious and irreversible damage. 

Do you need an oral cancer screening? Contact our Chicago dental office today: (312) 435-0411.