Oral cancer is a dangerous and potentially fatal disease affecting millions worldwide. Early detection and treatment are critical for better results and higher survival rates. This blog will discuss the importance of oral cancer screenings and how dentists at Arveen H. Andalib, D.D.S. can help identify and prevent oral cancer.
How Dentists Detect and Prevent Oral Cancer
Recognizing Oral Cancer Oral
Cancer develops in the mouth or throat. It can form in any portion of the oral cavity, including the lips, gums, tongue, inner cheek lining, the roof of the mouth, and floor. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and verrucous carcinoma are three kinds of oral cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts 54,000 new instances of oral cancer will be detected in the United States in 2021, with over 10,000 people dying from the disease.
Tobacco and alcohol use, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, sun exposure, poor nutrition, and a family history of cancer are all risk factors for developing oral cancer.
Screening for Oral Cancer
A visual and physical examination of the oral cavity and surrounding tissues is performed during an oral cancer screening. A dentist or other oral health expert often performs it during a standard dental check-up.
The screening procedure is simple and quick, usually taking only a few minutes. During an oral cancer screening, the dentist will look for abnormal growths or lesions on the lips, gums, tongue, inner cheeks, mouth roof, and mouth floor. They will also feel around the mouth and neck for any lumps or bumps. The dentist may use a special light or dye to highlight any areas of concern.
The Value of Early Detection Early
Identification of oral cancer is critical for better outcomes and survival rates. Oral cancer is easier to treat and cure if it is identified early. The following are some of the early indications and symptoms of oral cancer:
- Mouth ulcers or persistent sores that do not heal
- Red or white patches on the gums, tongue, or mouth lining
- Swelling or lumps around the lips or neck
- Sore throat or hoarseness that persists
- Chewing, swallowing, or speech difficulties
- If an irregularity is discovered during an oral cancer screening, the dentist may propose additional testing or a biopsy to determine the presence of cancer
- Oral cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy
Oral Cancer Prevention
Several lifestyle adjustments, including the following, can help reduce the risk of oral cancer:
- Avoiding the use of tobacco and alcohol
- Consuming a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Maintaining proper dental hygiene, such as brushing and flossing regularly
- When going outside, wear protective gear and sunscreen.
- Getting an HPV vaccination
Regular dental examinations are also essential for maintaining good oral health and detecting oral cancer in its early stages. According to the American Dental Association, adults should receive a dental exam and cleaning every six months or more regularly if a dentist recommends it.
Individuals with a family history of oral cancer, those who use cigarettes or alcohol, and those infected with HPV may be more likely to acquire the disease. These people may require more frequent oral cancer screenings and other protective measures. Individuals who have these risk factors should talk to their healthcare physician and dentist about their dental health and cancer risk.
Do You Need an Oral Screening service at Arveen H. Andalib, D.D.S.?
At Aesthetic Dentistry of Plantation, our dentist can check your overall oral health to prevent future conditions to develop. Give us a call to learn more about our services!