How Much Do You Know About Oral Cancer?

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month! Risk factors for oral cancer include smoking and use of other tobacco products. However, the fastest growing cause of oral cancer in young, healthy individuals that do not use tobacco is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV within the mouth affects the tonsils and base of tongue.

Facts about HPV:

  • HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States
  • There are over 200 strains. Out of the 200, 9 of the strains can cause oral cancer.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that more than 80% of Americans will have HPV in their lifetime
  • With a ratio of 4:1, males are most likely to develop oral cancer when compared to females.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer:

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • An ulcer or sore that does not heal in 2-3 weeks
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Hoarse or sore throat
  • Painless lump on the outside of the neck

At your checkups, oral cancer screenings are performed by your dentist to look for precancerous conditions or signs of cancer within the oral cavity.  They will look for asymmetries in the face, discolorations of the tissues and ulcerations within the mouth.

Is there a cure for HPV?

While there is no cure for HPV, it can resolve itself and does not normally cause health problems. Currently there is one vaccine,  Gardasil which protects against the 9 strains of HPV that cause cancer. The vaccines are recommended for boys and girls of ages 11 and 12.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Bahar Houshman and Dr. Marisa Reason is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Reisman would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/hpv-and-oral-cancer

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/hpv_oropharyngeal.htm

https://oralcancerfoundation.org/understanding/hpv/hpv-oral-cancer-facts/

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