As our nation observes Oral Cancer Awareness Month, Singing River Dentistry and the American Dental Association have joined the Oral Cancer Foundation in its campaign to remind everyone that regular oral cancer examinations by your oral health professional remain the best method to detect oral cancer in its early stages.

The mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation (, if you experience the following symptoms for more than 2-3 weeks, be sure and call your dental professional for an exam to rule out oral cancer:

• Soreness or irritation that doesn’t go away

• Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas

• Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue

• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

Historically, those at highest of risk of developing oral cancer are heavy drinkers and smokers older than age 50, but today oral cancer is occurring more frequently in younger, nonsmoking people. Most commonly, oral cancer among the younger population is caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus 16 (HPV). HPV caused oropharyngeal cancer may present with one or more of the following persistent (longer than two-three weeks) signs and symptoms:

• a painless lump or swelling felt in the neck

• sore throat, difficulty swallowing, or pain when swallowing

• swelling of the tonsillar areas at the back of the mouth

While not required by insurance, and not a “billable procedure,” at Singing River Dentistry each patient receives a free oral cancer screening as part of his or her routine biannual hygiene visit. We recognize our role in the early detection and treatment of oral cancer and are committed to the overall health of each patient. If you have never had an oral cancer examination (or suspect that you may be in need of one now that you are “oral cancer aware”) there is no better time to schedule one than during Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Florence • 256-764-9955

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