Oral Cancer Screening: What Is It and Why Is It Essential?
Did you know that your overall health and oral health are tethered? Anything that happens in your mouth will inevitably affect the rest of your body. This is why regularly visiting our dentist in Ballard, Seattle, is not a luxury but essential for you to stay healthy.
However, some people tend to come to our dental office only when there is a pressing need or a dental emergency. But it is good for your oral and overall health when you visit our dentist near you every six months. Dental checkups do so much for your smile. This allows our dentist to check for issues, such as oral cancer.
Reports show that most people succumb to oral cancer simply because the disease is always detected during the last stages. This is why regular checkups are vital.
Oral Cancer Screening
We know that the name of the procedure instills the fear of God in some hearts. However, this is not the case. It is a standard procedure within family dentistry that our dentist performs to single out precancerous swellings or signs of oral cancer in your mouth and the surrounding tissues.
Mostly, our dentist in Ballard, Seattle, will perform a physical and visual exam to ascertain whether there are any signs of oral cancer. Additional tests will only be carried out if our dentist notices abnormal cells in your mouth.
The whole idea is to catch oral cancer early, and if possible, nip it in the bud since you have a better chance of beating it when it is caught early.
Some people argue that there is no need for healthy people to get screened if they are not in the high-risk category. But, it is wise for you to come to our dental office and have a chat with our dentist regarding whether you should get screened or not.
Always remember that you should not wait for the signs to show up before you get screened. At times, you will notice the signs when the disease has advanced.
Myths and Facts About Oral Cancer
It is best to educate yourself when it comes to your health. So, here are some myths and facts:
- Myth: Only Patients Who Are at High Risk Need Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screening is one of the standard preventive services offered by many dentists. It is a non-invasive procedure that will help you know what’s going on with your oral cavity. So, you don’t need to be in the high-risk category to be screened.
- Myth: Only Smokers and Tobacco Users Can Get Oral Cancer
The most common risk factors that cause oral cancer are indeed smoking and drinking alcohol. But, it is highly likely that people who don’t smoke and drink to be diagnosed with oral cancer.
- Myth: It’s Easy to Spot Oral Cancer Signs
Mostly, oral cancer will manifest in places that will not be easy to notice, such as the base of your tongue, lining of your mouth, tonsils, and lymph nodes. However, regularly visiting our dentist can help keep track of any changes that might occur in your mouth.
- Myth: Young People Shouldn’t Worry About Oral Cancer
Statistics show that oral cancer affects more people above 50 years, which might be because the disease takes many years to develop. Over the recent years, there has been an increased number of cases linked to HPV and oral cancer, which puts younger people at risk.
- Myth: Prevention Methods Against Oral Cancer Don’t Exist
Oral cancer is preventable. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking less alcohol, and quitting smoking can prevent oral cancer.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
You need to peel your eyes for oral cancer symptoms, which are:
- Persistent sores on the neck or face
- A mouth that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal within two weeks
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Swellings, lumps, rough spots, crusts, or eroded areas on your gums, lips, or inside the mouth
- Unexplained pain or numbness in any area of the mouth, ear, or neck
- A feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
- Dramatic weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, moving the jaw, or speaking
- Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change in your voice
Contact our emergency dentist near you if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Preventing Oral Cancer
As mentioned earlier, oral cancer can be prevented. Here are some things you can do:
- Eat a well-balanced diet, especially with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Avoid using marijuana
- Limit your exposure to the sun or use sun-protective lotions
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Avoid using tobacco products
If you need oral cancer screening, contact our dentist at Ballard Dentistry to schedule an appointment.