It is important to take the time to reflect on the ways you can protect yourself from the devastating disease of oral cancer. Each year, tens of thousands of people get diagnosed with oral cancer, so it is crucial to do everything you can to protect yourself and your well-being. While making good day-to-day choices, like avoiding tobacco and eating a balanced diet, can reduce your chances of getting diagnosed with oral cancer, you should still visit your dentist regularly to undergo oral cancer screenings.
The Standard Recommendation
While experts have different opinions on how often a person should get screened for oral cancer, the typical recommendation is that every adult should get screened for this cancer at least once a year. Most dentists will include the screening as part of their routine exams, so you will most likely get screened twice a year if you are responsible about going to your dentist appointments.
It is essential not to count yourself out of getting oral cancer just because you have a healthy lifestyle. Even the healthiest people can develop oral cancer, and failure to see the signs and symptoms may be detrimental. To put yourself in the best position, you want to prevent any opportunity from oral cancer growing and threatening your life.
Individuals That Need to be Screened More Often
Various risk factors increase a person’s chance of developing oral cancer. Some of these risk factors include:
- Use of tobacco
- Excessive alcohol consumption (especially for those who combine alcohol and tobacco use)
- HPV, also known as human papillomavirus
- Excessive sun exposure
- History of oral cancer
Oral Cancer Screening Process
Luckily, the oral cancer screening process is easy, quick, and painless. Your dentist will examine your gums, lips, throat, tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth to look for any unusual swelling or lumps, patches of white or red discolored tissue, and loose teeth. Your dentist may also ask you any questions regarding potential symptoms of oral cancer you have been experiencing, like a persistent sore throat or any unexplained changes to your voice. If any reason for concern comes up during your oral cancer screening process, your dentist will help you schedule any necessary testing to further determine whether you have oral cancer.
If it has been more than a year since your last oral cancer screening, please contact your dentist as soon as you can to receive this potentially life-saving and quick oral cancer screening exam.
North County Dental Care brings together a host of dental specialists to provide a full spectrum of dental care for you and your family, all in one convenient location. Our family dentistry office in Vista, California, does not require referrals or running from one specialist’s office to another to receive the care you need. Best of all, we treat patients of all ages so that you can schedule your entire family’s dental appointments all in one place.