The link between HPV and oral cancers

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The link between HPV and oral cancers

When you bring your child to Lincoln Pediatric Dentistry for a routine check-up, our dentists will complete an oral examination. They will evaluate your child’s mouth for changes not only with their teeth but also with the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, roof and floor of the mouth. Changes to these oral surfaces could alert us to an illness or disease that would not have been spotted otherwise.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), there is a link between human papilloma virus (HPV) and the possible development of oral cancers. The HPV vaccination is expected to prevent 70% of all tongue and tonsil cancers. The vaccine is available to boys and girls as young as age 9.

While we know that tobacco of any kind is the number one cause of oral cancer, it is important to know how to best protect your child from the less obvious dangers like HPV and excessive sun exposure to the lips. Because the early signs of oral cancer usually are not painful, people often ignore them.

Symptoms of mouth cancer may include:

  • a sore the does not heal
  • a sore that bleeds
  • a growth, lump or thickening of the skin or lining of the mouth
  • tongue pain
  • jaw pain/stiffness
  • difficulty chewing/swallowing

If you have noticed your child has any of these symptoms, please call our office. Our pediatric dentists will examine the areas of concern and may send you to an oral surgeon or oral pathologist for further evaluation. Early detection is very important to help resolve and treat oral cancers. If not caught in the early stages, oral cancer can require surgery and be deadly. This is why it is so important to visit your dentist every six months.

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