When Was Your Last Oral Cancer Screening?
April is a great time to remind you about a benefit of regular dental exams that you probably don’t think about. This is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and we conduct oral cancer screenings when you visit us for routine care in Jacksonville, FL.
While we are getting rid of plaque and tartar, we are also looking for anything that doesn’t look like it should. We are more likely to find signs of tooth decay or gum disease. However, if we do find possible oral cancer symptoms, we want you to know as soon as possible.
With early detection, the five-year survival rate for oral cancer patients is between 80 and 90 percent, according to The Oral Cancer Foundation. That drops to 57 percent when oral cancer is found in the late stages.
We never want anyone to have this disease. At the same time, our team at River Oaks Dental would rather find it sooner rather than later. If you haven’t had a dental checkup in the past six months, then call 904-348-0416 today to make your next appointment with us.
Do A Self-Check
As important as regular dental exams are, we also recommend that you conduct a self-check as well.
You should be aware of any lumps or bumps in your mouth or on your neck. You may want to run your hands over your face and neck to check for this. These kinds of growths can make it difficult to chew, swallow, or speak in some situations.
Pull your lips out so you can see the soft tissue underneath in a mirror. Take note of any sores on the soft tissues of your mouth that have not gotten better in weeks.
While you are examing the soft tissue of your mouth, be aware of any tissue that is red, white, or a mix of both instead of pink. Check for any lumps on the roof and floor of your mouth as well.
These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have oral cancer. However, they are a good reason to contact your doctor. It’s much better to be safe than sorry with this disease.
Reduce Your Risk
The cause or causes of oral cancer are identifiable in 9 out of 10 oral cancer cases. That means health professionals have a good idea of what the biggest risk factors are for this disease.
Tobacco use is at the top of that list. The Oral Cancer Foundation noted that conservative estimates are that tobacco is a factor in at least 75 percent of new oral cancer cases. Any tobacco product increases this risk as they contain many known cancer-causing chemicals.
You might be surprised to know that heavy alcohol use is the second leading cause of oral cancer in the United States. For these purposes, health officials defined heavy drinking as consuming 21 or more drinks per week.
Of course, you may not consume that many drinks, but many people use tobacco and consume alcohol at the same time. That, too, makes you more likely to develop oral cancer.
See Us Soon
We hope you plan to visit River Oaks Dental soon. We are happy to give you an oral cancer screening as part of your next dental cleaning and exam. Call 904-348-0416 to set up your appointment.