When you visit your dentist, they do a lot to ensure that your teeth and overall health are taken care of. You may not know it, but your dentist performs an oral cancer screening at every biannual visit to watch for signs and symptoms of the development of oral cancer. By checking for early signs, there is a chance you can receive early treatment and increase the likelihood of successfully completing treatment for oral cancer.
Screenings are important, as more than 80 percent of oral cancer patients find out due to being informed by their dentist. The methods used to detect problems in your health are updated to make sure the best technique is being used to detect cancer and protect your health.
There are certain factors that increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Some of these include age, smoking or drinking, a diagnosis of HPV, sex, diet, and exposure to the sun. People over the age of 40 are more at risk of developing it, as are those who use tobacco or drink alcohol often. Men are more susceptible to oral cancer than women, and diet plays a large part in the health of your cells. Exposure to the sun can damage cells, increasing the risk of oral cancer.
Your dentist will look closely at your throat, neck, face, and mouth to look for abnormalities and discoloration that could be a sign of oral cancer. Some other symptoms of this type of cancer include:
Patches of red or white in the mouth
Bleeding spots that do not heal
Lumps or hard spots
Numbness or discomfort when biting or chewing
If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dentist so that they can perform tests to determine whether or not you have oral cancer or if something else is going on with your body.
Visit a Lutke Dental office near you in Plano, TX to get an exam that includes an oral cancer screening. Our dental professionals are dedicated to making sure you are healthy and happy, so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment or stop in for a visit.