What is oral cancer examination and why is it important?
A dentist Concord residents trust performs an examination of his patient’s mouth for possible warning signs of oral cancer. This is done to evaluate whether a patient has signs of abnormal cells developing in their mouths. With oral screening, dentists are able to detect oral cancer early, when chances for prevention or cure are higher.
Dentists recommend this examination whenever patients go for a routine dental checkup. Dentists look at the patient’s mouth and check for any white or red patches or sores and if they’re lumpy. Other examinations can also include rinsing the mouth with blue dye, the dye remains on the lumps even after rinsing. However, the stains from the blue dye cannot identify which sores are cancerous or not, even if they indicate where the sores are.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
There are several signs from which oral cancer can be detected. Oral cancer may start as small unnoticed white or red spots found anywhere in the mouth, such as the lips, gums, cheek lining, or tongue. Moreover, possible signs for oral cancer can also be found when teeth alignment has changed.
Other warning signs also include sores that bleed or do not heal immediately or changes in the gum tissue’s color. Pain or numbness is felt in the mouth and patients have difficulty in chewing, swallowing, or speaking especially in the jaw or tongue area. Additionally, maladaptive behaviors such as chain smoking, heavy drinking or prolonged exposure to sunlight can also increase risks for oral cancer. With this plethora of warning signs, a Concord NC dentist would recommend the following preventive measures:
Preventive measures for oral cancer
Because prevention is better than cure, it would be best to break any bad habits that could hasten oral cancer’s precondition. First, stop smoking and chewing tobacco immediately. According to the American Cancer Society, smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers.
Similar to smokers, alcoholics should decrease their alcohol intake as studies show that excessive drinking is directly related to oral cancer. Moreover, heavy drinkers are also six times more likely to develop cancer of the mouth and throat than non-drinkers. Avoiding chronic sun exposure and applying lip sunscreen can reduce the risk of developing oral cancer.
Lastly, individuals should have an oral cancer medical examination regularly, either through doctors or a dentist Concord NC esidents trust. The American Cancer Society recommends people 20 years old and above to have the examination once every three years to enable early diagnosis or treatment before cancer fully develops.