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Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Incorporating regularly scheduled oral health screenings into your health and wellness routines can assist in catching oral cancer in its early stages. Oral Cancer not only has the ability to affect the mouth but also the head, the neck and throat, the tongue, and the jaw as well. The majority of America is unaware of the repercussions that can occur if we don’t take care of our mouths early on. We try to stress how smoking and tobacco usage is detrimental to our health overall, as well as our oral health. There are other various ways to contract Oral Cancer without being a smoker. 

Signs and Symptoms

The staff at Pleasant St Dental is educated on what to look for when it comes to Oral Health Screenings.

Some symptoms or signs of oral cancer include the following:

  • A sore or ulceration that does not heal within two-three weeks 
  • Either red, white, or black discolored lumps of soft tissues spots in your mouth, typically found on the inner cheeks or near the gum line
  • Any area of your mouth that bleeds with minimal pressure
  • A hard piece of tissue that usually lives on the tip or side of your tongue
  • Oral tissue that surrounds a growth
  • An open-like sore that can live underneath someone’s denture or retainer, even after proper adjustments or alterations have been made 

As your dental provider, we will be the first individuals to notice the development of oral or pharyngeal cancer. Pharyngeal cancer is known as cancer that lives in your pharynx which is more commonly known as the back of your throat. Oral cancer can develop quickly and suddenly, and unfortunately, the mortality rates are fairly high. Spreading awareness on the prevention and causes of oral or pharyngeal cancer is extremely important, mostly because it can be treated if caught early enough. 

General Causes 

  • Smoking tobacco or smokeless tobacco are two of the most common causes of developing oral cancer, smokeless tobacco especially can cause mouth sores, and ulcers leading to throat and esophageal cancer as well
  • The human papillomavirus is the number one cause of this type of cancer developing in non-smoking adults
  • Over excessive consumption of alcohol can heighten your risk levels for contracting both oral and pharyngeal cancer
  • Frequent or overexposure to the sun without any protection can gradually break down the outer layers of your lips which can increase the risk of getting lip cancer
  • Not taking care of your body with a balanced diet, believe it or not, can do more harm than you’d think. Not getting the essential nutrients like fruits and vegetables doesn’t make your chances of staying away from oral cancers any greater


To prevent or lower your risk of contracting any of the oral or pharyngeal cancers, you can parlay in these preventative tips to help your health and well-being.

  •  Eliminating tobacco usage from your daily routine, whether that be smoking tobacco or smokeless (Chewing) tobacco
  • Eliminate pairing tobacco and alcohol consumption as one whole activity
  • Protect your lips with an SPF15 or higher lip balm whenever you enter the sun
  • Consume cleaner, more wholesome foods. Some may find it beneficial to consult with a nutritionist or dietician to ensure that you’re getting the essential nutrients that your oral cavity and body need to stay healthy
  • Schedule your routine office visits ahead of time at Pleasant Street Dental so that we can stay on top of your maintenance! Make sure to brush and floss adequately enough in between visits so that you eliminate the chances of bacteria growth over time

When should you be concerned?

Although the staff at Pleasant Street Dental is knowledgeable and educated when it comes to the signs and symptoms of cancer in a Dental screening, you should know what to look out for yourself. Healthy individuals really only visit their dentist twice a year, so knowing the signs and symptoms to look for before your appointment can only help.

If you have any of the following beginning signs or concerns, you’ll probably want to get in contact with us sooner than later!
  • Problems with chewing or swallowing, the feeling of your jaw clenching up each time you take a bite out of something 
  • Issues moving your tongue from either side of your mouth
  • Discomfort on one side of your head that travels down into your inner ear, sometimes might pair with a loss of hearing on the affected side
  • Any type of sore, cut, or bump that stings inside of your lips, throat, or inner cheeks
  • White, red, or black lumps that protrude out of your skin or gum lines.

If you’ve recently noticed any of these in your mouth and are unsure what the underlying cause may be, contact us today!

Diagnosing your cancer is the first step, and certain treatment plans and therapies can treat it if caught early on. Know the facts, know the risks, address the signs, and call Pleasant Street Dental today!