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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month: What You Should Know

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While we are currently temporarily closed due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are always doing our part to keep our community educated and informed about the facts. Every April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, something that not everyone is properly educated about. Roughly 53,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with this type of cancer every year, and only 60 percent of people diagnosed will live longer than 5 years. Unfortunately, oral cancer, or cancer of the head and neck, is aggressive and does best when it is treated early. 

Signs & Symptoms

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer is half the battle in keeping yourself safe. Unfortunately, many times, early signs of oral cancer are easily mistaken for a toothache or a cold. If you notice any of the following symptoms lasting for longer than a couple of weeks, it’s important to see medical attention:

  • Mouth sores that don’t heal
  • Lumps in the cheek or the neck
  • A white or red spot in the mouth
  • Ongoing mouth pain
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Changes in your voice
  • Jaw swelling
  • Loosening teeth
  • Weight loss
  • Consistent bad breath


There are a variety of causes that may result in the development of oral cancer. Human papillomavirus 16 is the leading cause of this cancer, but other risk factors include tobacco, alcohol, sun exposure, age and diet. Those over the age of 40 are more likely to develop this type of cancer. 


Early detection helps minimize the risk of oral cancer becoming fatal. Keep an eye out for signs that something is off in your mouth and make sure to seek treatment accordingly.

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I have been going to this practice for several years now. I seemingly never have to wait when I arrive at the office and they are all very professional. Dr. Hartlieb and Dr. Ching have been terrific. In addition to doing great dental work, each has a great rapport with their patients. All of their assistants have been top notch as well.

- Neil H.

I recently met with Dr. Ching to have some dental work done, and had an exceptional experience at this office! I usually hate going to the dentist, but this experience was different–this office is hands-down, THE nicest dental facilitiy I have ever seen.

- Shaun F.

This dental office is something I haven’t seen before. I had many past dental experiences at other dental offices (unfortunately not good) and finally I found Chicago Beautiful Smiles. Dr. Hartlieb had helped me restore my teeth to a beautiful smile.

- Natasa R.

I am a loyal patient for over (yikes!) 20 years because I appreciate the time, skill and patience of the entire team. As proof of my gratitude, I live in the city and reverse commute every six months for my appointment.

- Dennis H.

Dr. Hartlieb is by far the best dentist I have ever been to. He has transformed my smile into something of beauty. In fact, many people comment on how beautiful my teeth are who do not even know that I have had major dental work performed. I used to never want to smile that large before, but now I smile as big as possible when photographed.

- Fran L.

I always have a great experience when I go to Chicago Beautiful Smiles. The staff is amazing and Dr. Hartlieb and Dr. Ching are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. The facility is incredible and I feel like I’m being treated with the best technology in the dental industry. Go to Chicago Beautiful Smiles for a consultation and I guarantee you will go back time and time again. It does not get any better in the Chicago area.

- Antonio S.

I had a great experience with Dr. Ching – very professional and thorough in his craft. I had been seeing my previous dentist for the past 15 years; however, I am ready to make the permanent switch to Chicago Beautiful Smiles. Dr. Ching is great at explaining the procedures he was performing and made my visit comfortable.

- Brian M.

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