Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers, about 35,000 new cases are reported annually in the U.S. Oral cancer occurs most often in people over 40. It can form in any part of the mouth or throat and if not diagnosed and treated early, it can lead to chronic pain, disfigurement, and even death. Oral cancer has one of the lowest five-year survival rates, mainly because it is caught too late.
See a dentist immediately if you notice any of the following: red or white patches on your gums or tongue, a sore that fails to heal within two weeks, bleeding in your mouth, loose teeth, problems or pain swallowing, or a lump in your neck.
Your dentist or hygienist should perform a head and neck exam to screen you for oral cancer. It is quick and painless. If your dentist or hygienist is not doing this ask them why not!