Screening for Oral Cancer
At Family Friendly Dentistry, we are passionate about the state of your oral health. This is one of the reasons we stress routine hygiene examinations for your entire family. During these appointments, we not only clean your teeth, but we also inspect for other conditions and diseases that can affect not only your oral health but your overall health as well. One condition in particular we inspect for is oral cancer. While not among the most common cancers diagnosed, it still affects more than 50,000 Americans each year and can cause great disruption to your daily life.
Where Can Oral Cancer Appear?
When patients hear the term oral cancer, many assume that it can only be found inside of the mouth, which is untrue. Oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, cheeks, lips, gums, throat, sinuses, and the floor and roof. Inspecting for oral cancer is quick and simple, taking only a few moments. To perform the inspection, we simply look at your face, neck, lips, mouth and tongue.
Signs of Oral Cancer
There are visual signs that would alert you to a potential problem you should have evaluated if you notice them between your bi-annual appointments. These signs include:
- Swelling, or thickening of the lips, gums and inner cheeks
- Unexplained oral bleeding and discomfort
- Sores that are recurring or do not heal
- Feeling that something is stuck in your throat
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- A lump or rough spot in the mouth
- Constant hoarse voice
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
Unfortunately, oral cancer can affect anyone, but there are certain patients who have a higher chance due to family history and lifestyle choices. These risk factors include:
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Unhealthy diet
- Extensive sun exposure
- Overindulgence and repeated use of alcohol
As with many other cancers and illnesses, early detection and treatment is key. If you have not had an oral hygiene examination in more than six months, we suggest contacting our office located in Terre Haute, IN to schedule an appointment.