A Local Dentist Will Look for Signs of Oral Cancer

Posted on: June 4, 2014

DentistIt is important to visit the dentist at least twice a year so that we can clean your teeth, remove bacteria and plaque, and help you to avoid cavities and gum disease.  While we cannot prevent oral cancer from forming, these visits will allow us to provide early detection and diagnosis in the event that you get this disease.Many people are unaware of the number of people that are impacted by oral cancer or what caused their cancer in the first place.  Many people think of oral cancer and think about smoking cigarettes.  They are bad for your overall health they only increase your risk of oral cancer by six times.  While significant, that is nothing when compared with people using smokeless tobacco products.  That increases a persons’ risk by sixty percent.  This is an innocent mistake that many people make.  They assume they can be safer and healthier if they stop smoking cigarettes and start chewing tobacco instead.  Unfortunately, it is an easy mistake that can cost you your life.  If you are either smoking or chewing, now is the time to quit.Additional things that lead to oral cancer are spending too much time in the sun and drinking too much alcohol.  Drinking in excess increase a persons’ chances of getting oral cancer by six times which is the same amount of risk that smokers have.  If you are unsure what constitutes as excessive, consider that most doctors feel the healthy limit is two drinks per day.  Binge drinking is definitely out of the question and as a dentist we recommend cutting back in order to benefit all of your health.Other than taking steps to avoid known triggers, it is important to identify the signs of oral cancer if they start to manifest themselves.  At home, pay attention to if you have difficulty swallowing or if it hurts when you do. This may be the sign of a simple infection but if it doesn’t go away with antibiotics it could be indicative of oral cancer. Additionally, you should run your tongue along your gums and cheeks to check for rough patches, lumps, or bumps, which are also symptoms.At our local dentist office we will conduct a full examination at every visit.  This means that when your teeth are being cleaned we are also looking for cavities, signs of gum disease, and signs of oral cancer.  It is difficult for a person to see the inside of their mouth.  We are able to get a close look and identify anything out of the ordinary.  This includes small white, red, or white and red velvety bumps.  We also look for sores that aren’t healing, excessive bleeding, and teeth or dentures that are moving out of place for no reason.  We recommend that patients visit the dentist at least twice a year in order to have a full teeth cleaning and dental examination.  We are often the first ones to identify signs of oral cancer and can help patients to get the treatment that they need in order to fight the disease.