If you aren’t seeing your general dentist every six months to clean your teeth and examine your mouth you should. April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Health experts say general dentistry check-ups usually are the first line of defense in detecting oral cancer early. Moreover, catching oral cancer early is important to ensure the best outcomes in treating the disease. If you are looking for a general dentist in Buford, Georgia, consider Lanier Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.

Oral cancer refers to cancers of the mouth, tongue, throat, tonsils and exterior lip. These cancers are the largest group of cancers under the head and neck cancer category. The Oral Cancer Foundation expects 2013 to mark the fifth straight year of increases in incidences of oral cancer. It estimates that 42,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancers this year.

Although some people think oral cancer is rare, the truth is that one person dies of the disease hourly. However, when oral cancer is detected at an early stage the survival rate is from 80 to 90 percent. That is why it is critical to see a general dentist for examinations and dental cleanings twice a year.

Some of the symptoms of oral cancer include a persistent sore throat or hoarseness; a sore in the mouth that has not healed in two weeks; difficulty chewing or swallowing; swelling in the jaw or difficulty moving it. If you have any symptoms, see your dentist for an examination.

Dentists have extensive training in quickly examining your entire oral cavity. They will conduct a visual examination of the tissues of your mouth checking for ulcerations, patches of red or white, lumps or loose teeth. In addition, the dentist will examine your larynx and nasopharynx, feel the back of your throat and the floor of your mouth, as well as feel your neck for abnormalities. Plus, your dentist will further check for signs of oral cancer by looking at an x-ray of your mouth.

Remember, going for regular six month dental cleanings and dental check-ups in the Atlanta area is the best protection against oral cancer.