More than 37,000 Americans will have been diagnosed withbefore the end of the year, according to the . Approximately 8,000 of these diagnoses will result in death.
Thankfully, oral cancer screenings are designed to catch cancer in its early stages so patients have the best chances for survival.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Oral cancer is so dangerous because patients rarely experience symptoms until it is too late. However, there are several risk factors that increase your likelihood of getting oral cancer, which include smoking, alcohol abuse, poor diet, and excess sun exposure on the lips.
- Red or white patches in mouth
- Numbness or pain when biting down
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty chewing
- Persistent bad breath
- Hoarse voice
Keep in mind that you may not show family dentist as soon as possible., which is why it’s important to ask your dentist about oral cancer screenings. If you recognize any of the , be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor or
Why are oral cancer screenings important?
The sooner your dentist detects oral cancer, the sooner you can receive treatment to save your life. Since many people with oral cancer don’t show symptoms until it is too late, it is important that your dentist does a mouth cancer screening at least once a year. If you have a history of smoking or abusing alcohol, you may have oral cancer screenings more often. Smoking and drinking heavily are both risk factors for oral cancer.
Your dentist will check for oral cancer by either a clinical or oral examination. During a clinical examination, your dentist will look for patches or sores in your mouth that indicate cancer. Since some bumps are too small to be seen by the human eye, your dentist will also feel for lumps on your cheeks, tongue, gums, and other areas inside your mouth. Oral examinations are different because your dentist uses special screening devices to check for the early signs of oral cancer.
How can I prevent oral cancer?
While there is no way to completely prevent oral cancer, you can still significantly reduce your risk by making changes to your lifestyle. For example, eating a well-balanced diet and wearing sun protection on your lips are good ways to.
How to reduce your risk for oral cancer:
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Stop using all tobacco products.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Wear sun protection on your lips.
Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry is dedicated to helping you achieve good oral health and overall health through comprehensive dental treatments. If you are interested in scheduling a dental exam or oral cancer screening with our dentist in Grand Rapids, give us a call at (616) 458-7267.