Great Expressions Supports Oral Cancer Awareness Month

According to the CDC, more than 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. With dentists often the first line of defense in early detection of oral cancer, during Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) urges demonstrating vigilance when it comes to oral hygiene in order to help prevent this life-threatening disease.

“Oral cancer can spread quickly, making early detection essential to increasing one’s survival rate,” said Dr. Robert Brody, Chief Operating Officer for GEDC. “The disease affects people of all ethnicities, ages and genders, and its causes extend beyond the use of chewing tobacco – excessive alcohol use, and cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking are all known to put patients at risk.”

Early indicators of oral cancer include: red or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth, any sore that does not heal within 14 days and hoarseness that lasts for a prolonged period of time. Advanced indicators of oral cancer include: a sensation that something is stuck in your throat, numbness in the oral region, difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue, difficulty in swallowing, ear pain in one side only, or a lump that develops in the mouth or on the neck.

To support Oral Cancer Awareness Month and to promote oral health throughout the year, GEDC offers the following vital tips to assist with preventing oral cancer:

  • Avoid tobacco products. According to the National Cancer Institute, tobacco use is the leading cause of oral cancer. Tobacco includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco.
  • Limit alcohol use. Using alcohol is a large risk factor for oral cancer. The risk is about twice as high in people who have three to four alcoholic drinks per day compared to those who don’t drink alcohol, according to the National Cancer Institute.
  • Sun exposure. Repeated exposure to sunlight may increase the risk of lip cancer, which most often occurs on the lower lip. Applying chapstick with sunscreen everyday will help prevent sun damage and cancer.
  • Regular dentist visits and self-examinations. Scheduling your six month exam is a great way to keep a healthy mouth. The dentist is the first line of defense in identifying dental health problems that may be associated with oral cancer. In addition, be sure to take a few minutes each month for a self-exam to see if you can see or feel anything suspicious including lumps, bumps, tender areas and any white, red or grey patches. If these symptoms are found, contact your dentist immediately.

Great Expressions Dental Centers includes oral cancer screenings as part of every dental exam, consisting of an examination of the face, neck, lip and mouth for signs of cancer, as well as checking the tongue for any lesions or discolorations. GEDC also offers more in-depth screening options, including Oral ID and Vizilite. GEDC is working to raise awareness about Oral Cancer through a blog program, social media campaign and by supplying employees with Oral Cancer Foundation bracelets. To find a GEDC office near you, visit