April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and obviously the best time to recommend and advise patients to take premeditated measures to prevent oral cancer. Most people are not actually aware of what causes this kind of cancer and don’t even know what they need to do to detect it.
Honestly, it’s very common for adults to avoid regular dentist appointments, increasing the risk of suffering from it. Actually, statistics say that most oral cancer cases are discovered too late because of the lack of dental attention.
That’s why, this month, we encourage all dentists to make some recommendations to their patients and relatives, as an active way to prevent this awful disease.
Let them know about the risk factors
Even when it’s really hard to get patients knock bad habits, you should still should be stressing patients about:
- Consuming tobacco products
- Excessive alcohol consumption (especially if it goes beyond 4 drinks a day)
- Betel quid use.
- A poor diet that lacks fruits and vegetables
- Sun exposure (lip cancer)
- HPV contraction
Make sure your patients know the signs so they can take quick action:
Even though signs can be a bit ambiguous or general, the conjunction of several of these symptoms should be immediately cared for:
- Soreness in the lips, mouth or throat that won’t go away
- Painful red or white patches in/on the mouth
- Continuous pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or on the lips
- Lumps, crusty or eroded areas, rough spots
- Change in the bite or teeth position
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, talking or moving the jaw, in general.
- A lump in your neck or throat
- An endless cough
- Voice changes.
Advise patients about preventative measures
Let them know what they need to do to prevent or diagnose any of these symptoms in a timely fashion:
- Self-examination (pay attention to your mouth general state and any changes on it).
- Avoid tobacco and drinking together or any heavy use of these substances separately (if possible, encourage them to quit tobacco completely).
- Include more vegetables and fruits in their diet.
- Using sunscreen and/or hats when exposed to too much sunlight.
- Encourage them to visit the dentist at least twice a year and practice good oral health.
Are you a dentist and interested in partnering with a company that will bring dental patients in the door post-consultation? Zentist Diagnostics is working with dentists in the Bay Area to schedule, complete cases and store files electronically in one place. Learn more about Zentist today.