April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

The Oral Cancer Foundation has found that oral cancer affects approximately 54,000 people each year, leading to over 9,000 deaths. To highlight the seriousness of the disease, save lives, and protect everyone’s oral health, the foundation has declared April Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

This disease can affect us all, and there is plenty that you can do for oral cancer awareness month. Our experts have compiled the following facts about this disease as well as ways you reduce your risk of contracting oral cancer in your life.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer, also referred to as mouth cancer or oral cavity cancer, is the type of cancer that forms in the mouth, lips, tongue, and back of the throat. Oral cancer remains one of the fastest-spreading cancers in the body. Therefore, annual screenings are important for early detection and treatment.

“April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month” stock illustration.

Causes and Signs to Know

Many risk factors increase your odds of developing oral cancer. Heavy tobacco use, consuming alcohol, UV light exposure, and having human papillomavirus (HPV) greatly increase your chances for mouth and throat cancer. Although oral cancers can affect anyone at any age, it typically affects people assigned male at birth and adults over the age of 40.

Common signs of oral cancer include

  • Red sores or other abnormal tissue on lips or gums that don’t go away
  • White patches in your mouth that won’t go away
  • Persistent mouth pain
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Jaw swelling in the face and neck
  • Difficulty eating or chewing
  • Numbness in the mouth, head, and neck

Ways to Mitigate Your Risk of Oral Cancer

There are numerous preventive measures to reduce your risk of oral cancer. Some of these include

  • Avoiding tobacco products
  • Consuming alcohol in moderation
  • Receiving an HPV vaccine
  • Avoiding UV light
  • Frequent dental checkups

Schedule A Screening Today!

With Oral Cancer Awareness Month, do your part and schedule a preventative checkup as soon as possible. If you need an oral cancer screening dentist, Rio Dental and Orthodontics is here to help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment! We specialize in preventative dentistry and screen for oral cancer to detect it at an early stage.

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You can play a part in preparing your child for his or her first visit to our office. Informing your child of the visit as an exciting experience for both of you can ease any hesitations. As a parent try to act relaxed, since your child may sense any anxiety on your part.

Explain to your child that the doctor will “count, brush, and maybe take pictures of their teeth”. We also ask that you assume the role of a silent observer. Cooperation and trust must be established directly between the doctor, staff, and your child and not through you. Your child may become confused if receiving instructions from multiple sources.

We recommend bringing your baby in for their first dental appointment by their first birthday, or within 6 months of their first tooth appearing (whichever comes first). During this appointment, we will examine your baby’s mouth to track their dental development and discuss age-appropriate dental care.

It’s easy to make appointments to visit our office online or over the phone. Rio Dental sees patients both for checkups and dental emergencies. Using our online scheduler, you can select the location and time slot that works best for you for either type of appointment. If you have any questions regarding our practice, or simply prefer to make your appointment with a live member of staff, please don’t hesitate to call!

Rio Dental Group accepts most PPO insurances. We recommend that new patients and returning patients with new insurance policies reach out to us before their appointment to confirm coverage. Our Fort Worth location also sees patients who are covered by Medicaid and CHIP programs.

We don’t like surprises, either! Our staff is prepared to discuss the cost of dental services before you undergo treatment so that you know what to expect in terms of fees. The cost of your services will be due at the end of your appointment. Our office accepts payment by cash, credit card, or check.

Rio Dental Group allows patients to pay with their CareCredit card. CareCredit is a healthcare credit card designed to cover out-of-pocket costs at over 225,000 providers nationwide. After leaving the office, card holders will be able to make convenient monthly payments towards their balance. To learn more, visit the CareCredit website.

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