PLANTATION, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, putting prevention and early signs top of mind for many. DentalPlans.com, a leading online marketplace for dental savings plans in the U.S. and part of the Henry Schein One portfolio of solutions, is urging Americans to see the dentist for their preventive care and oral cancer screenings. The company is also providing advice for finding early signs of oral cancer, as well as how to lower your risk.
Know the early signs of oral cancer
Symptoms that can potentially indicate oral cancer include:
– An unexplained swelling, rough spot, crusty skin, or skin that looks damaged on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
– Furry-looking white, red, or white and red patches in the mouth
– Persistent sores in the mouth or on lips that do not heal within two weeks
– Unexplained sores in the mouth that bleed easily and are very slow to heal
– Numbness and pain in the mouth, face, or neck
– Difficulty swallowing, feeling that you have something stuck in your throat
– Sudden difficulties in chewing, swallowing, and/or easily moving the jaw or tongue
– Long-term sore throat, sudden change in your voice
– A rapid change in how your teeth or dentures align
If you notice any of these symptoms, speak to your dentist or other health care professional as soon as possible.
Understand your risk level
According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. Men who are over the age of 50 are in the highest risk group.
Smokers, along with people who drink alcohol excessively, are six times more likely than nonsmokers and non-drinkers to develop oral cancer. Smokeless tobacco users are also in a high-risk group. More than 25% of all oral cancers do occur in people who don’t smoke and rarely drink alcohol so don’t ignore symptoms if you fall into a “lower risk” group.
A family history of cancer, and excessive sun exposure, also heighten your odds of developing an oral cancer.
Lowering your risk of oral cancer
Don’t smoke, don’t drink to excess, and don’t use tobacco products. Use a good UV-A/B-blocking sun protective lotion or balm on your lips to protect them when in the sun. And see your dentist regularly.
The early signs of oral cancer can be very difficult to spot on your own, though dentists are trained to screen for oral cancer, as well as look for signs of disease during your regular checkups.
“Early detection is a strong factor in successful treatment,” said Jenn Stoll, Chief Commercial Officer at DentalPlans.com. “Don’t delay your dental checkups, especially if you are in a high-risk group for oral cancer. Not only can preventive care help you catch oral cancer and other diseases early, it can also help you maintain a healthy lifestyle given the strong connection between oral health and overall wellbeing.”
What to expect during an oral cancer screening
Oral cancer screenings are typically visual and physical. Many dentists look in your mouth for indicators of disease, such as swelling, lumps, sores, and areas of discolored skin. They may also feel the tissues of your mouth for any abnormalities and examine your throat and neck.
Depending on your oral health, your dentist may want to conduct additional tests or refer you to a medical specialist, to identify abnormal cells in your mouth.
If you notice any symptoms that may be indicative of oral cancer between checkups, make an appointment with your doctor or dentist for an examination right away. Don’t wait until your next checkup. Catching serious conditions such as oral cancer early can saves lives.
DentalPlans.com is committed to helping more people access affordable dental care through dental savings plans – an affordable alternative to traditional dental insurance that can save plan members 10-60% on most procedures. Most of the dental savings plans available on DentalPlans.com provide savings on oral cancer screenings.
Find a plan that fits your needs and budget at DentalPlans.com.
DentalPlans.com, founded in 1999, is a leading online dental and health savings marketplace in the U.S., helping more than a million people to affordably access quality healthcare services. Our mission is to empower consumers with the tools, information, and services that they need to live happier, healthier lives.
About Henry Schein One
Henry Schein One, a subsidiary of Henry Schein, Inc. established in partnership with Internet Brands in 2018, is a software company providing integrated software and services to the dental industry. Headquartered in American Fork, Utah, the company offers market-leading solutions for dental practices, including Dentrix, Dentrix Ascend, Dentrix Enterprise, Easy Dental, TechCentral, Demandforce, Sesame Communications, Lighthouse360, Officite, and DentalPlans.com as well as international companies, including Software of Excellence, Logiciel Julie, InfoMed, Axium, Power Practice and LabNet, among others. For more information, visit www.henryscheinone.com.