The month of April has been dedicated oral cancer awareness month. This deadly form of cancer claims ONE life an hour in the US alone and has a 50% mortality rate five years beyond diagnosis. With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that medical professionals and researchers are dedicated to raising awareness.
Unfortunately, oral cancers are often not detected early because the symptoms can be painless, and many people are not aware of the disease. But the good news is that survival rate is high when oral cancers are found in the first stages. Awareness and early detection are key!
White or red patches inside the mouth or on the lips
Swelling, lumps, bumps, rough spots or eroded areas on the lips or inside the mouth
Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
Unexplained numbness or loss of feeling in mouth, face or neck
Persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal within 14 days
Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
The Risk Factors:
Age: The disease usually occurs over the age of 40
Gender: Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancers
Lifestyle: Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, and heavy alcohol use
Family or personal history: Those who have had oral cancer previously are at an increased risk of developing another oral cancer
Excessive sun exposure
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
One of the best ways you can celebrate oral cancer awareness month is by visiting your trusted dentist for an oral cancer screening. During these appointments, you’ll receive a gentle examination looking for the common warning signs of this disease. By receiving regular screenings during your preventive dentistry appointments, you may significantly reduce your chances for oral cancer.
As your dentist, we consider ourselves a partner in your overall health care, helping you to enjoy the best quality of life every day.
Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in children? It’s true! Helping your children maintain a healthy smile takes some extra work and vigilance, especially when they are still very young and may not be able to brush on their own. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), so there is no better time than now to learn more about children’s oral care from your dental team at Dentistry by Design!
Dr. Sledge recommends the following strategies to set your kids up for a lifetime of dental success:
2×2 – Your children should brush for two minutes, twice a day and they should floss just as often. Brush right alongside your kids to watch for proper technique, and play some fun music on your phone to make sure you brush long enough. Encourage them to spit out toothpaste, since getting too much fluoride can impact the appearance of their teeth.
Eat Healthy – Every parent knows just how many sweets are aimed at their kids. This compounds the problem for kids, since they’re already prone to tooth decay and cavities. Limit sugar – in foods and drinks (like fruit juices) – and stick to water, high-protein snacks, leafy greens, and dairy products. Cheese can protect tooth enamel so enjoy this healthy treat.
See Your Dentist – Since dental problems can arise as soon as teeth show up in the mouth, the ADA recommends scheduling your child’s first appointment no later than their first birthday. Kids should see our team at least twice a year for exams and cleanings.
Make It Fun – It’s important that kids get a good impression of the dentist when they’re young to encourage a lifelong habit of dental wellness. Watch cartoons and read children’s books about the dentist. Do dental activity sheets before your children’s appointment. (see below) Get them excited to visit the dentist!!
Set A Good Example – You know that your kids look up to you, so if you drink soda all day long, skimp on flossing, and don’t visit the dentist yourself, your children will pick up on that message.