Canker sores are an uncomfortable reality for many people. But are your canker sores harmless, or a red flag for a bigger problem? Sometimes, mouth sores can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as oral cancer. If you’re wondering if you have a canker sore or cancer, read on.
What Are Canker Sores?
Canker sores are small, round ulcers that appear on the soft tissues of the mouth. They are very common. In fact, you’ve probably dealt with them at some point in your life. While they aren’t contagious, they can be very painful. Sometimes, canker sores can make it difficult to eat, drink, or even speak clearly.
Is It a Canker Sore or Cancer?
Lots of patients worry that their canker sores are actually caused by something more serious- such as cancer. Luckily, it’s usually easy to tell the difference. Canker sores are always small and flat with a white or pale yellow center. They are also usually painful and clear up after one or two weeks.
While canker sores always look the same, oral cancer sores can look very different from person to person. They might be flat or raised, white or yellow, small or large. The biggest difference is that oral cancer sores will not clear up on their own, and may change in appearance over time. If you have a mouth sore that doesn’t begin to heal after two weeks, then see your dentist.
The Importance of Regular Screenings
Of course, oral cancer is a very serious condition. It can be life-threatening if not treated! But luckily, odds of recovery are good if the disease is caught early. Regular oral cancer screenings are the best way for your dentist to catch the disease. If you have a family history of cancer, or if you are at risk for oral cancer, then you should be screened regularly. Screenings are quick, easy, and performed right in your dentist’s office.
Talk To a Dentist Today
If you’re wondering if you have a canker sore or cancer, then it’s important to call a dentist. This is the only way to truly know what is going on in your mouth. The Smile Artisans offer oral cancer screenings, biopsies, treatment options, and more. Call us today to learn more.