A beautiful smile is one of your best assets. In fact, a recent poll found that 45 percent of people feel like a smile is a person’s best feature, no matter their age. That’s why the smile experts at Beaumont Family Dentistry are taking time this month to bring awareness to two types of oral problems that can wreak havoc on your smile.
Be Aware of Oral Cancer
Did you know that April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month? Like many people, you may be under the impression that oral cancer is rare and that it couldn’t possibly happen to you or someone you know.
In actuality, almost 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Oral cancer will take the life of someone once every hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is definitely a disease that should be taken seriously.
Tobacco use and alcohol consumption are the two activities that put you most at risk for developing oral cancer. Smokers, in particular, are at high risk. Various studies completed over the years have estimated that from 75 to 90 percent of oral cancer cases can be attributed to smoking. Just quitting smoking can drastically lower your risk for developing oral cancer – not to mention the numerous other health concerns that smoking puts you at risk for.
Other causes of oral cancer can be traced to genetics as well as to the HPV16 virus, which is also associated with cervical and other cancers.
Oral cancer can be successfully treated if caught early enough. That’s why we perform an oral cancer screening at your regular checkups here at Beaumont Family Dentistry. We recommend you visit us every six months so that we can help you maintain the best oral health possible. If we find any signs of oral cancer, we will refer you to a trusted specialist for a complete diagnosis and treatment.
Below are a few of the most common symptoms of oral cancer to be on the lookout for:
- A sore or lesion in your mouth that doesn’t heal within two weeks
- A lump or thickening of your cheek
- A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in your throat
- A white or red patch on your gums, tongue, or lining of your mouth
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Chronic hoarseness
While these conditions don’t necessarily mean that you have oral cancer, if you notice any of these, you should contact our office or your physician for an appointment as soon as possible.
Guard Your Smile With Professional Protection
April is also National Facial Protection Month. Spring means that we’ll spend more time outdoors and participate in more sports and athletic activities. And that also means an increased risk to your teeth, mouth, face, and head. So now is a great time to think about protecting yourself against any mishaps.
Besides a helmet and other protective gear, remember to wear a custom, professionally made mouthguard to protect your smile. There’s nothing that can put you on the sidelines quicker than an injury to your teeth or mouth. Did you know that the American Dental Association (ADA) says that athletes who don’t wear mouth protection are 60 times more likely to suffer an injury than athletes who do?
Simply put, there’s no good reason not to wear a mouthguard during sports and other athletic activities. Mouth protection can help prevent injury, dental emergencies, pain, and unnecessary expense.
A small investment in a custom mouthguard will pay big dividends. Our mouthguards will fit better, provide more protection, and last longer than one you buy in a store. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are not able to deliver nearly the benefits that a professionally made mouthguard can. If you’re active at all, we encourage you to call us soon so we can fit you with the right type of mouthguard for your activity.
We also make night guards to wear while sleeping. Many people grind their teeth (known as bruxism) or clench their teeth during their sleep. Left untreated, bruxism can wear down your tooth enamel, leaving you at more risk for decay, disease, and discomfort.
Our custom night guards will help prevent grinding and clenching. And since teeth grinding has been linked to tension and migraine headaches, eliminating it may help you experience fewer and less intense headaches.
So, take a minute now to think about your smile. Since April is an important time to boost awareness of smile problems, pay special attention to your smile this month. Call the team at Beaumont Family Dentistry if you need to schedule a checkup or if you have any dental-related questions. You can also contact us online to request an appointment at one of our three locations!