Oral Cancer and its Role in the Dental Office

Dentists are becoming more proactive in the prevention of oral cancer by incorporating oral cancer screenings into their dental checkup routine. Do not be alarmed if your dentist is feeling for lumps or bumps that shouldn’t exist in the entire head and neck region, not just within the mouth, even in the absence of symptoms. Your dentist may not necessarily suspect pathology, but they need to evaluate all the tissues. Initially oral cancer can be painless, and early detection is key to successful treatment. 

Tobacco use and alcohol are triggers, but excessive sun exposure can lead to pathology

Many times oral cancer can present as a mouth sore that does not heal, a fixed lump, a color change, or a texture change. It can impede your ability to chew, speak, swallow, function. So what puts you at risk for oral cancer and how do you prevent it? Obviously tobacco use and alcohol are triggers, but excessive sun exposure can lead to pathology on the lips, oral cancer can be of unknown origin, and HPV can cause throat cancer. 

Aside from abstaining from tobacco use and limiting alcohol intake, it is now recommended that preteen boy and girls be vaccinated against HPV to help in reducing the incidence of oral cancer. Survival rates and prognosis are entirely dependent upon early identification and intervention, so see you dentist regularly for your checkup and maintain regular checkups, twice a year. Call Katy Trail Dental, where we are passionate about promoting oral cancer awareness.