Though most prevalent in those over the age of 50, oral cancers can affect anyone at anytime. With new research supporting the link between certain cancers of the mouth and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), there's even more reason to ask, "Am I at risk for oral cancer?"
As with any type of cancer, early detection is key. At Frederick Dental, we value preventative measures when it comes to oral health. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to inquire about oral cancer screenings at each six-month checkup.
You'll be glad to know that these are very easy, and do not require a separate appointment. Typically, there is no extra expense incurred, unless there is reason to perform further testing. Our dentist will simply check the mouth, or oral cavity, for cancer indicators. Any irregular tissue pockets or lumps will be examined. These can occur anywhere inside the cavity of the mouth, including the lining of lips, cheeks, teeth, gums, tongue, bottom of the mouth, the bony roof, or the palate. Because these areas work together for healthy functions such as breathing, eating, and speaking, it's essential to have them checked thoroughly.
The team at Frederick Dental also recommends that you perform self-examinations. If you notice any of the following, you are strongly encouraged to give our office a call:
- Mouth sores (lingering more than 2 weeks)
- Swelling of the tongue
- Lumps near the mouth, cheeks, or neck
- White or red patches on the lips or mouth
- Chronic bleeding (mouth or throat)
- Difficulty swallowing
When it comes to yearly wellness examinations, an oral cancer screening should be at the top of your list. We believe that oral health is vital to your overall health and well-being. Be sure to ask for your oral cancer screening at your next appointment. Remember- it's always better to be sure.