April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Spring is here, and along with it comes baseball season. While we all love baseball, there is a dark cloud that hangs over the sport…the overwhelming use of chewing tobacco. Well, the tide is beginning to turn.

Chewing or smokeless
tobacco, which has been stuffed in the cheeks of major league baseball players for decades, is being banned at a growing number of ballparks. So far, four ballparks have passed bans on smokeless tobacco, including San Francisco. It’s important that children not be exposed to smokeless tobacco or see it being used by their on-field sports heroes.
Did you know that almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year? The good news is that when cancer is detected and treated early, there is a high survival rate!
Besides environmental factors; tobacco, sun, age, diet and alcohol, HPV (human papillomavirus) has a strong link to oral cancer. Petaluma Dental Group can do a screening to test you for HPV and will be able to tell you more about your susceptibility to oral cancer. Regular visits to your dentist can also improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, when cancer can be treated more easily.

In between visits, it’s important to know the following signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Contact Petaluma Dental Group if you have any of these symptoms and they do not disappear after two weeks.
The symptoms of mouth or throat cancer can include:
• a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
• red or white patches
• pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
• a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
• difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
• a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
So enjoy our beautiful Sonoma County spring, take the kids to baseball games, picnic on our beautiful hills and don’t forget to ask your dentist to do your oral cancer screening and HPV testing on your next visit.
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