Oral cancer screenings are an essential preventative measure that aids in early oral cancer detection. This screening is an examination performed by your dentist, during which he or she searches for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth, throat, lips, gums, and tongue. It is both a visual and physical exam that can either assure no apparent abnormalities exist or can trigger early treatment if signs of oral cancer are present. The earlier the detection, the better the chances of treatment being successful.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
It is recommended that you receive an oral cancer screening at least once a year. However, schedule a screening immediately if any of the symptoms below arise and persist for more than a week without any improvement:
- Mouth sores that do not heal
- White or red patches in your mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
- A sore throat with no other sinus symptoms
- Lumps or swelling in or around your mouth
- Pain or difficulty speaking, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue
- A constant sensation like something is caught in the back of your throat
- Unexplained ear pain
- Drastic weight loss
What Are the Risk Factors of Oral Cancer?
Anyone can develop oral cancer. However, there are certain factors that increase your risks of developing the disease. The most common oral cancer risk factors include:
- Tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Unhealthy diet
- Being male
- Family history of oral cancers
- Excessive or prolonged exposure to the sun
- Having gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
For more information about the process of oral cancer screenings or to schedule an appointment to receive one, contact Family & Implant Dentistry of Boynton Beach.