Just as it’s recommended that you visit a dermatologist on a regular basis to screen for early signs of skin cancer, you should also be visiting your dentist on a regular basis for a general exam and professional cleaning which includes the screening for oral cancer.
Oral cancer may not be one of the most common cancers that you hear about on the news or read about in magazine articles, but the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that almost 50,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. Many of the cases are not discovered until the cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes even though it may have been detected earlier through an oral exam. At Arlington Dental Associates we include oral cancer screenings as a part of every exam. The screening includes looking for oral cancers of the lips, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, gums, floor of the mouth, and the hard and soft palette.
Although tobacco use of the biggest risk factor when it comes to oral cancer, there are some other contributing factors too. These include a family history of cancer (oral or otherwise), chronic or excessive sun exposure, and the human papillomavirus (HPV). And while oral cancer can affect both men and women, reports indicate that men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than their female counterparts.
As mentioned, the best way to determine whether or not oral cancer is present is through a dental exam, but the following are some symptoms that you can be on the lookout for before making your appointment:
While some of these symptoms could be indicators of issues other than oral cancer, it’s still recommended that you visit your dentist sooner rather than later for a medical diagnosis.
Rather than worrying about your oral health, why not make an appointment today at Arlington Dental Associates to get the answers you need!