Signs of Oral Cancer

Man getting screened for oral cancer at the dentist.

Oral cancer, like any kind of cancer, is probably not something you want to think about. But like with other cancers, or really any kind of illness, it’s best to get treatment as soon as possible when things may not be as severe. How do you do that? By knowing what the symptoms are so that as soon as you notice them, you can seek help from a medical professional. Here are the signs of oral cancer to look out for.

Common Oral Cancer Symptoms

Oral cancer can present itself in different ways in different people, but there are some general symptoms you can check for. Even if you have just one of these symptoms, it’s worth getting a medical consultation.

  • Loose teeth — Your permanent teeth should never be loose, and if they are, you should see a dentist.
  • Discolored patches in your mouth — See if there are any white or red patches in your mouth, on your tongue, or on your gums that don’t match the usual color.
  • Difficulty or discomfort while swallowing — If you’ve noticed that it’s hard or painful for you to swallow and it wasn’t like that before, it should be examined.
  • Mouth or ear pain — Having mouth or ear pain doesn’t automatically mean that you have oral cancer, but it is one of the common signs.
  • Sore that doesn’t heal — There are many reasons why you might get a sore on your mouth or lip, but if you have one that doesn’t look like it’s healing as it normally would, it could be an oral cancer symptom.

Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Checking patients for oral cancer is something Dr. Bethea does during a preventive care exam. However, if you see some concerning signs in your mouth between appointments, we recommend booking an oral cancer screening at our Columbia dental practice. The Bethea Family Dentistry team is here to ease your concerns, answer any questions you have, and put you on the right path toward treatment if necessary.

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