Wiregrass Seniors Magazine February 2019 FEBRUARY ISSUE - Page 4

Page 4 WiregrassSeniorsMagazine.com Hi Readers, Last month being January, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about resolutions. Along with the common ones we always hear about, it's also important to schedule that long overdue check-up with your dentist. I surprised a few readers by mentioning that it is just as important to get a check-up when you DON"T have teeth as it is when you do have teeth. Those exams should include visual examination of your dentures, a profes- sional cleaning of the dentures and most importantly, an oral cancer exam. That's what I'll elaborate on this month. It is very important to realize that ANYONE can get oral cancer. Some people, like my own maternal grandfa- ther, died of oral cancer probably because his history of smoking put him in a higher risk category. However, many other people get oral cancer without having ever smoked. Some oral cancers can be detected at home. If you have a sore that doesn't seem to heal, you need to get it checked. Common places for cancer are on your lips, under your tongue, inside your cheeks, your throat and the roof of your mouth. Guess what? I just named almost every surface of your mouth! So, it can be anywhere in the mouth region. Sometimes it appears only as a red or white patch on the surface. The problem with that is that at home you won't have the advantage of the lighting and the visual advantage your dentist has at his or her office. According to WebMD, other symptoms may include mouth numbness, voice changes, ringing ears, and a sore throat that won't get better. I don't want to overly alarm you, but sometimes a little reminder is good so that you'll get your annual oral cancer exam, and put your mind at ease. Or if you do have a suspicious area, a simple biopsy may be all you need to verify what it is. Plus, an early diagnosis is always preferable when dealing with cancer. To your Health and Happiness, Geoff Gaunt,DMD dothancosmeticdentistry.com 334-673-7440