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Early detection and treatment of cancer increase its chances of success. As part of April’s Oral Cancer Awareness month, our Pax Dental team in Lexington Park, Maryland, would like to share some important information with you that could save your life.

When you come in for your yearly checkups, we not only look for signs of gum disease and tooth decay but any oral irregularities that might indicate oral cancer. Our goal is to help you maintain a healthy smile all year round. To help your smile thrive, we would like to share with you three ways that you can help lower your risks of this disease. Why? Because in 2018 alone, it is estimated that over 51,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer.

Oral cancer arises when abnormal cells start dividing uncontrollably. This results in cancerous, malignant cells. All of the soft tissues in your mouth are vulnerable to oral cancer, which means watching out for abnormalities of the lip (especially the bottom lip), the tongue, back of the throat area, the salivary glands, esophagus, or tonsils, is important.

In between your dental checkups, you should be on the alert for sore areas in the mouth which may appear white or red, bleed easily, and don’t heal on their own within two weeks. Any unusual thickness (or cyst) in the cheeks, areas of numbness, problems chewing and swallowing, jaw swelling or change in your voice are also signs that something is off.

In addition to keeping an eye on your oral health, you can take measures to lower your risk of oral cancer by avoiding tobacco in all of its forms, limiting your alcohol intake, and wearing sunscreen on your lips when outdoors.

If you have concerns about your oral health or would like to book a dental checkup with our team, please call 301-863-8822 today. Our dentist, Dr. Jenny Hawkins is here to help you maintain your healthy, confident smile!