The American Cancer Society reports that prolonged exposure to the sun increases your risk of lip and oral cancers. Summer is quickly approaching, and Dr. Villani wants to make sure you’re protecting all areas of your body from the summer sun.

What is Oral Cancer?

An estimated 40,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Oral cancer occurs in or around the mouth—including your gums, teeth, cheeks, throat, floor of mouth, roof of mouth, lips, and tongue. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include mouth sores or lesions, pain, lumps in the throat, white or red tissue discoloration, oral swelling, constant bad breath, and difficulty moving your jaw or tongue.

Preventing Oral Cancer

Sunscreen and sunglasses can protect your body and eyes, but your mouth often remains uncovered. The skin on your lips is very thin, and the sun’s ultraviolet rays can burn and dry out your lips. If you’re spending time outdoors, be sure to drink lots of water to keep your body and mouth hydrated. Additionally, make sure you wear a protective lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher to help block radiation, and wear a hat to help hide your face from the sun’s dangerous rays.

Additional Facial Protection

Mouth guards can also help protect your face from your summertime activities. If you’re playing sports or running around the pool, you could trip or slip and cut your lips, tongue, or other facial tissues. Lacerations and wounds create an opening for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Additionally, major injuries could knock out a tooth. Fortunately, Dr. Villani offers dental implants to restore your smile.

When detected and treated early, oral cancer patients have an 80 percent survival rate. At your Brighton dental checkup, Dr. Villani, Dr. Kondrat, and our two knowledgeable hygienists will inspect your soft tissues for abnormalities and areas of concern. Contact Brighton Family Dental Group in Brighton, MA at (617) 562-5210 to schedule an appointment for summer. We welcome patients from Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, and the surrounding communities.