In the United States, an estimated 48,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed this year, and of those cases, only about half will survive beyond the five-year mark. With oral cancer, early detection is key to survival, so it goes without saying that knowing the warning signs could truly save your life.
Persistent Throat Pain or Raspy Voice
If you have had persistent throat pain and/or a raspy voice for more than a month but haven’t had a cold or bronchial infection, you could have oral cancer. Don’t just assume this pain will go away on its own - make an appointment with your dentist or doctor to have it checked out.
Does your throat hurt when you swallow, even if it’s just saliva? Painful swallowing or difficulty swallowing is another warning sign of oral cancer you should bring to your dentist or doctor’s immediate attention.
If your tongue hurts but you don’t remember biting it or burning it recently, it could be nothing more than a canker sore. But if the pain persists past a week or two, don’t ignore it - get it checked out by your dentist or doctor to rule out something more serious.
You’ve already lost all your baby teeth, and you haven’t been opening bottles with your adult teeth - so why are your teeth suddenly loose? Loose adult teeth aren't a normal sign of aging, so if you notice unusual movement in your teeth, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist as soon as possible.
A bleeding sore should be cause for alarm anywhere on your body, but in your mouth it can be especially dangerous because of the risk of infections from oral bacteria. If you have a sudden or unexplained sore in your mouth, call your dentist right away.
Difficult or painful chewing can mean many things. It can be a sign of a TMJ disorder, teeth grinding, a cavity or infected tooth, or simply a misaligned bite. The good news is, all of these problems can be corrected by your dentist, so there’s no need to suffer. If you find yourself experiencing oral pain when chewing, don’t ignore it. Contact your dentist. It may be nothing serious, but there’s a very good chance it can be fixed.
Your dentures can become loose over time due to changes in the shape of your mouth; however, that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing - or that you should ignore it. Whether your dentures are loosening due to wear and tear, age, or something more serious, don’t wait to get it checked out. Improperly fitting dentures can cause everything from painful mouth sores to dangerous infections, so even if you don’t have oral cancer, a proper fit will save you a lot of pain. If your dentures aren’t fitting like they should, give Dr. Lederman’s office a call as soon as possible.
Sores That Don’t Heal
Much like a bleeding sore, a sore that doesn’t heal isn’t a normal occurrence in a healthy mouth. If you have a persistent oral sore that isn’t bleeding but isn’t healing either, get it checked out.
Lumps/Growths in the Mouth
If a strange lump or growth appears in the mouth, don’t wait to get it checked out. Get it evaluated immediately!
Jaw pain is another symptom that can be a lot of different things, including oral cancer, so don’t delay getting it checked out, especially if it comes out of nowhere.
Often we fall into the trap of hoping things will clear up on their own, but waiting can often be the difference between life and death when it comes to cancer. Don’t risk your health – if something seems off, call Dr. Lederman’s office at 516-882-1764.