According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, almost 50,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. The good news is there is an 80-90% survival rate when diagnosed and treated early. To help make sure as many people as possible get that early diagnosis, the month of April has been designated as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. And to spread the word, here is some quick information about oral cancer symptoms and treatment.

Risk factors include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  • Sun exposure
  • Diet
  • Betel nut use
  • Family history of oral cancer

Oral cancer symptoms include:

  • Patches inside the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain swallowing
  • Lump in the neck
  • Numbness of lower lip and chin
  • Difficulty wearing dentures
  • A persistent earache

Oral Cancer Screenings

Your dental check-up should include an oral cancer screening. During this, your dentist will inspect your face, neck, lips, and mouth to look for any signs of oral cancer. You will also be asked to stick out your tongue so it can be checked for swelling or abnormal color or texture. Your dentist will also visually examine the roof and floor of your mouth, the back of your throat, the tonsils, and the gums for any discolorations or lesions

What is VELscope VX?

VELscope VX is a wireless handheld device used to identify oral abnormalities early. Often, it can detect abnormalities months or even years before they can be identified with the naked eye! VELscope VX is painless and quick; it can be used in minutes.

Remember, early detection yields the best results. So a regular dental checkup could end up saving more than your smile!