According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States alone. However, oral cancer is curable if detected and diagnosed early. We perform oral cancer screenings in our office for all patients. This is a physical examination for early stage cancer before any symptoms have arisen. Our goal is to detect harmful growths or lesions right at their onset, when treatment is the simplest and most effective. Each patient should be screened for oral cancer at least once a year. Have you had your test yet? Come into our office today to learn more about oral cancer and to receive your screening today. It just might save your life!
When many patients hear the word “cancer,” it can cause panic or distress. Cancer comes in many forms, but did you know that you can also harm your oral health? Oral cancer is a thing, and there are many patients who have it and don’t know it. There is actually an entire foundation—The Oral Cancer Foundation—dedicated to preventing oral cancer and reporting its prevalence. The OCF reports that someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States. That’s only in one country!
They also report that an estimated 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. This cancer is also referred to as oral oropharyngeal cancer, and it can be a killer. Over 9,750 patients with this cancer will die each year, which almost comes out to about 1 in 5 patients that have been diagnosed. However, oral cancer is preventable with the right care and is highly curable if diagnosed early. That is why we perform oral cancer screenings at our office.
You may think that a cancer screening is a lengthy process, but that’s not the case! Your dentist can actually perform your entire oral cancer screening in less than 5 minutes. A dentist is skilled to look for signs of cancer that a patient may not see or may not realize is an indication that something is wrong. Your dentist can analyze your speech when you come to the office to listen for any speech abnormalities that are present such as a hoarse or raspy voice. This could be caused by an abnormality in the throat, which they will check for. You might be asked to breathe in certain ways as well to check the sound of your breathing.
Your dentist will also use a bright light to examine your oral cavity, or all the parts of your mouth such as your lips, cheeks, tongue, tonsils, and the back of your throat. Oral cancer sometimes manifests as lesions that are visible to the trained eye but can’t be felt. Your dentist may also be able to detect an abnormality by having you move your head in various ways while gently pressing on areas of your neck for abnormal lumps or abnormal signs that are cause for concern.
Cancer comes in many forms. You use your mouth every single day, and many experts say that the mouth is the window to the rest of your body. The health of your mouth indicates how well you take care of your body and is an indication of your health overall. We recommend that every patient receive an oral cancer screening each year. We can often do this screening during services such as your comprehensive examination and dental cleaning.
Studies show that 1 in 5 people die from oral cancer only because it is discovered so late in its development. If more patients saw their dentist more often, the death rate would plummet. You can make sure you are not one of those patients with oral cancer or advanced oral cancer by keeping up with your screenings each year. Studies also show that tobacco and heavy alcohol use contribute to a patient’s chances for oral cancer. 75% of cases are related to patients who use these substances. Quit using them or avoid these substances altogether to reduce your risk for oral cancer and many other types of cancers.
Good oral health in general is important for each and every patient. If your oral health is poor, you will likely suffer from problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. These are some of the most common diseases of the mouth, even though they are both 100% preventable with proper oral hygiene and seeing the dentist often. The foundation of all good dental treatment is a thorough comprehensive exam. During this exam, we check all the hard (teeth) and soft tissues of the mouth for decay, disease, or abnormalities. We can evaluate your oral health for stains, tartar and other deposits on the teeth, cavities, infections, and more.
Your dental cleaning is meant to clean the teeth deeply. This is a cleaning that removes deposits on the teeth that you can’t do at home. We polish the teeth after cleaning them, floss thoroughly, look for the presence of gum disease, and check your biting, chewing, and swallowing patterns. We recommend receiving dental cleanings at least twice a year, if not more if you are prone to cavities or gum problems.
The words “oral cancer” can be a cause for alarm, but not if you are a patient that keeps up on their oral hygiene, their dental health, and especially their visits to the dentist. Don’t wait to have your oral cancer screening today! Call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-6101 to schedule your appointment. It just might save your life!