Dental checkups are about so much more than polishing those pearly whites. They’re also a key factor in identifying and treating other problems in your mouth as early as possible. One incredibly important oral health condition your dentist checks for during a routine examination is cancer. Oral cancer affects more than 50,000 Americans every year, and it can be deadly if left untreated. Read on to find out more about this dangerous condition and how regular checkups with your dentist can keep you and your smile healthy.
Understanding Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, gums, sinuses, or throat. As these cells multiply, they spread and damage the surrounding tissues. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that there will be roughly 53,000 new cases in the US next year that will result in nearly 10,000 deaths. Although it can be fatal if left undetected, oral cancer is very treatable when discovered in its early stages.
Regular Dental Checkups & Early Detection
Oral cancer screenings are a regular part of your dental checkup every six months. It’s a comfortable and quick procedure, so you may not even recognize when it’s happening! Your dentist has years of specialized training and advanced technology that allow them to investigate your mouth closely for the earliest warning signs of oral cancer. They’ll carefully examine your oral cavity along with your jaw, neck, and face for any irregular bumps, discolorations, or sores.
Unfortunately, like most dental health issues, oral cancer can develop and progress without you initially seeing or feeling it. That’s why it’s so important to get your dental checkups twice a year even if your smile looks and feels fine. The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be successfully treated.
Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should see your dentist right away for an oral cancer screening:
- Red or white spots in your mouth, or other strange patches of discoloration.
- Strange crusts, rough areas, or swelling anywhere in the mouth.
- Sores that heal slowly or unexplained bleeding.
- A frequently sore throat.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
While oral cancer cannot be completely prevented, it can be treated successfully with early detection. Keep your smile beautiful, happy, and healthy by visiting your dentist for a checkup and oral cancer screening twice a year!
About the Practice
Our talented team at Painesville Dental Group strives to meet all your family’s dental care needs under one roof, whether you’re in Painesville, Jefferson, Chardon, Hilltop, or any of the surrounding Ohio communities. Our highly trained and friendly dentists have been helping patients maintain and achieve excellent oral health for 50 years with the latest dental technology and techniques. If you notice any signs of oral cancer, or are in need of your biannual screening, don’t hesitate to contact them via their website and any of the phone numbers listed there.