April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and often dental practices serve as a first line of defense against oral cancer.   At each dental appointment we do an oral cancer screening, checking for any suspicious areas clinically or radiographically.   According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 43,250 people in the US were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014, increasing over the past 8 years.

The 2 leading causes of oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol and exposure to HPV-16 (Human Papilloma Virus 16).    This is just one of the reasons we start counseling our patients starting in middle school, about the importance of not smoking or using tobacco.   Sadly, about 115 new individuals each day are diagnosed with oral cancer and approximately 1 person dies every hour of every day from oral cancer.    We know this sounds scary, but many of these cancers are preventable and at very least, prognosis is better with early detection!

Learn more at the oralcancerfoundation.org