Summary: At your next appointment with a general or cosmetic dentist, ask to be screened for oral cancer. Oral cancer can severely affect the function of your mouth, not to mention your life, and particular preventative measures can be taken if symptoms present themselves.
Oral cancer is a debilitating, though sometimes wholly preventable, disease that most general or cosmetic dentists routinely check for. First appearing as a series of sores or lumps in the mouth, oral cancer can quickly affect dental health; including tooth integrity, comfort, cosmetic concerns, and even lead to death.
Symptoms: The symptoms that are the great indicators are usually minor, unexplainable inconveniences. Spontaneous gum bleeding without any perceivable cause is certainly a warning sign. Soreness or patches of white and red tissue in the gums are another danger sign as well. While these may just be symptoms of common periodontal disease, it is still best to get these checked out immediately. Defending against oral cancer has become a central role to standard oral maintenance. There are specific behaviors that can promote or prevent the likelihood of oral cancer, and certain symptoms that should be regarded as warning flags to consult a dentist. Beginning with symptoms and warning signs, this is a basic understanding of oral cancer prevention and diagnosis.
Also, be aware of a sudden lump in your throat or mouth. This is a massive red flag. If you’re unsure, check to make sure that a mouthpiece, denture, or retainer still fits correctly. Oral cancer can make corrective appliances fit awkwardly.
Behaviors: If you’re experiencing one of the preliminary warning symptoms of oral cancer, it is best to take stock of what behaviors you engage in that increase your likelihood of the disease. Certain behaviors can have monumental effects on how quickly your oral health will deteriorate. For instance, people who are regular drinkers or tobacco users increase their likelihood of oral cancer six times. For a more staggering statistic, smokeless tobacco users (chew and dip) increase their likelihood of oral cancer by a whopping fifty times. If you use these substances to any degree, chances are you should be taking even the smallest symptoms seriously.
Prevention:If you believe you fall into the certain behaviors that make you more likely to suffer oral cancer, quit those behaviors immediately. Realistically, however, quitting those behaviors will not be the only factor in preventing oral cancer.
Much of preventative maintenance involves strong hygiene and good behaviors as well. Eating a balanced diet will go far in keeping your teeth healthy, as will regular maintenance such as brushing and flossing. Also, use lip balm and sunscreen to protect sensitive lips from the brutal sun. Coupled with unhealthy behaviors, like smoking, sun damage can and will contribute to lower and upper lip cancer.
Stay healthy and always be thinking about prevention to ensure your protection. The American Cancer Society recommends screening for oral cancer at least once every three years for people over the age of 20, and annually after age 40. Talk to your general or cosmetic dentist at your next appointment. Screening will give you peace of mind, and (God forbid) allow quicker and more decisive action if treatment needs to be taken.
IF YOU LIVE IN THE BUFFALO OR ORCHARD PARK, NY AREA & YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A COSMETIC DENTIST THAT ALSO PROVIDES ORAL CANCER SCREENING, CALL DR. NICHOLAS RODO TODAY!