In addition to your home oral hygiene habits, you know that regular care from your dentist in Carmel is equally as important for a healthy smile. Although you may not know it, visiting your dentist twice a year is vital for more than just healthy teeth and gums. It is also necessary for detecting oral cancer early with regular screening. It is estimated than more than 49,000 Americans will be diagnosed each year. You can help to promote early detection by visiting your dentist regularly.
Don’t Skip Your Oral Cancer Screening
Although oral cancer is not widely discussed, it is responsible for about one death every hour. Of those who are diagnosed with it, only a little over half will survive for longer than 5 years. Those who do survive are often left with facial disfigurations. This can significantly decrease their quality of life due to difficulty chewing and speaking, as well as changes to their appearance.
The long-term outlook for those with oral cancer is often bleak due to late diagnosis. Often, the cancer is not found until it has reached advanced stages or spread to other areas of the body. With an oral cancer screening performed at your routine appointments, you can help to ensure that cancerous and precancerous cells are found early. In fact, it has been found that 84% of new oral cancer cases can be detected early by a dentist.
Your Risk for Oral Cancer
Anyone can develop oral cancer; however, there are certain risk factors that can increase your odds, such as:
- Being male
- Over the age of 50
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Human papillomavirus
No matter your risk factors, it is best to have an oral cancer screening during your next preventive appointment. In addition to cleaning your teeth and performing a checkup, your dentist will look for signs of oral cancer, which can include:
- Sores or irritation that will not subside
- Changes to the color or the thickness of the tissues in the mouth and lips
- Red, rough, or white patches
- Lumps or bumps
- Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw
- Numbness, pain, or tingling
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
- Changes to the alignment of your teeth
With a simple examination, your dentist can help to find areas of concern sooner. If a suspicious area is found, a tissue sample will be taken to be analyzed in a dental lab. Your dentist will then notify you of the results.
Visit Your Dentist Today
If it has been more than 6 months since your last dental appointment, do not wait any longer. While promoting the health of your teeth and gums, benefit from an oral cancer screening.
About Kristoff & Associates Family Dentistry
Kristoff & Associates Family Dentistry provides high-tech care with personalized solutions. With a patient-centered approach, we help you reach optimal oral health and well-being. During your preventive appointments, we offer oral cancer screenings. If it has been more than 6 months since your last visit, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.