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Great Expressions Dental Centers Provides Prevention Tips For Oral Cancer Awareness Month

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In the United States, approximately 42,000 people will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal (throat) cancer this year and studies show that one person dies from oral cancer every hour each day. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) is providing ways to help protect against and prevent oral cancer.

"Oral cancer can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early, so it's important to be proactive about prevention," said Dr. Paul Kim, Northeast Clinical Director for Great Expressions Dental Centers. "A serious danger with oral cancer is that it can go unnoticed in early stages as it can be painless and physical changes might not be as noticeable as other diseases. Knowing what to look for and being mindful of causes of oral cancer will help with prevention."

Following are some important tips to help prevent oral cancer:

  • Avoid smoking and any type of tobacco product. According to the National Cancer Institute, tobacco use is the leading cause of oral cancer. Tobacco includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco. Not only can use of these products cause oral cancer in the mouth but also parts of the throat.
  • Limit alcohol use. Using alcohol is a large risk factor for oral cancer. The more alcoholic drinks consumed daily, the higher the risk of 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. Ever think to apply sunscreen to your lips? Repeated exposure to sunlight may increase the risk of lip cancer, which most often occurs on the lower lip.
  • Regular dentist visits and self-examinations. The dentist is the first line of defense so it's important to meet with them regularly and ask for an oral cancer screening. 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.
  • Brushing and flossing daily. Brushing two to three times a day and flossing one time a day is critical to remove bacteria. Flossing sometimes is easily forgotten, however, if you don't floss, you will miss cleaning 35 percent of your tooth surfaces.

To support their commitment to patient awareness, prevention, and early diagnosis and treatment of disease; GEDC does an oral cancer visual screening on every patient examined during a routine examination. In addition, GEDC offers an exam called ViziLite. It's a non-invasive screening tool that can be utilized to detect abnormalities or suspicious lesions in the oral cavity that would warrant further investigation. For more information on ViziLite and a discount for this service during the month of April, please call 888-SMILE-80.

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