Regular oral cancer screening by your dentist is extremely important. Did you know that one American dies every hour from oral cancer? Did you also know that a dental check up is supposed to involve more than just checking for cavities? Your dentist is on the front line of identifying, treating, and preventing this dreaded disease. A head and neck oral cancer exam is part of every exam at Dayspring Dental. This involves checking the neck for swollen lymph nodes, and the cheeks, tongue, throat and gums for any unusual lumps, bumps, or coloration before even looking at the teeth.
Smoking is the major risk factor for oral cancer. But there are other risk factors involved as well. Alcohol use, smokeless tobacco use, as well as the HPV virus are all common contributors to oral cancer. Even denture sores or places where you are missing teeth that are constantly irritated by food can lead to oral cancer. When oral cancer strikes, even if it isn’t fatal, it’s often disfiguring, with patients losing parts of their tongue or jawbone. That is why early detection is so vitally important.
What can you do to protect yourself against this disease?
1- Avoid the risk factors.
2- Visit your dentist every 6 months for an oral cancer screening.
3- Visit your dentist if you notice any sore in your mouth that has not healed after 14 days.
4- Perform a monthly self exam. It only takes 5 minutes!