Did you know there are more than 200,000 cases of oral cancer in the United States every year? Oral cancer appears as a sore in the mouth that won’t go away. It can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. It’s imperative to get screened during a regular dental visit or upon suspicion of symptoms. At Country Isles Dental, an oral surgeon in Weston will provide screenings to give our patients peace of mind or a plan to treat their condition.
Oral cancer screenings can be as short as two minutes. You’ll need to be honest about your oral hygiene and let your dentist know if you smoke. The oral screening consists of a physical and visual exam.
During the physical examination, your dentist will check your face, neck, head, and oral cavities for lumps or unusual masses. Not all lumps may be cancerous, which is why getting a thorough examination is essential.
After feeling for lumps, your dentist will also take a look inside of your mouth and check for any abnormalities. They’ll also be on the lookout for any swelling in your face that you should be concerned about.
Symptoms of oral cancer can be watched for at home, but a screening is a routine part of any regular dental checkup. Visual symptoms include red or white patches, lumps, dry spots, or small eroded areas, and an ill-fitting bite when your mouth is closed.
Additionally, you may experience difficulty chewing and swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw, and soreness or irritation that won’t go away. Many people also may experience ear pain or trouble hearing. We invite you to schedule an oral cancer screening if any of the above have been giving you trouble.
Common factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include the use of tobacco of any kind, significant sun exposure (lip cancer), heavy alcohol use, and the human papilloma virus (HPV).
In fact, about 80% of those who have oral cancer have smoked cigarettes or chewed tobacco. Other factors that increase your risk of developing oral cancer include the following:
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to lower your risk of developing oral cancer. Following these tips should be beneficial for your health.
The vitamins and antioxidants found in fruits and veggies can give your mouth the essential nutrients you need to protect yourself from oral cancer. The best ones for your mouth are carrots, pears, and squash.
Those who have between three to four alcoholic drinks a day are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than those who don’t. Over time, it begins to dry out the skin of your mouth, breaking down the bacteria and making cancer-causing chemicals.
Getting screened for oral cancer at the dentist’s office is an effective way to catch early signs and make treatment easier. We’ll make sure to thoroughly check your oral cavities for any growths that may become cancerous.
The chemicals in tobacco can cause genetic changes in the cell cavities of your mouth. This leads to the development of oral cancer. Don’t start smoking if you already haven’t, and quitting smoking will make your treatment more effective.
Too much time spent in the sun can raise your chances of developing skin cancer as well as oral cancer. If you’re unable to stay out of direct sunlight, use lip balm with SPF 15 or wear a wide-brimmed hat.
If you’re worried about oral cancer, we’re happy to provide you with a quality screening here at our office. We’re dedicated to providing our patients with the finest comprehensive dental care with a warm and personal touch. To learn more about oral cancer screenings, or to be screened, please contact our experienced staff at Country Isles Dental today.