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Your Dentist Can Help You Detect Deadly Forms of Oral Cancer


Your Dentist Can Help You Detect Deadly Forms of Oral CancerChoosing a dentist with knowledge of the entire oral environment is important.  Some dentist focus only on the teeth and if there is nothing wrong with that, they pat you on the back and tell you to return in six months, but there is so much more to it than that.  Many patients are surprised to hear that oral cancer rest in the top ten list of most deadly cancers.  It is very important when choosing your dentist to ask if they will screen you for cancer and take biopsies if suspicious tissue is present.

Thankfully, many of the predisposing risk for oral cancer are activities that individuals can choose to avoid or stop.  Here is a list of some of the risk:

  • Smoking (cigarettes, pipes or cigars)
  • Drinking heavily (≥2 drinks a day for men and ≥1 drinks a day for women)
  • Smokless tobacco
  • Repeated and prolonged sun exposure (Can cause lip cancer)
  • Diet low in fruits and vegetables

It is also important to note that if a person has the habit of smoking and drinking they have an exponentially higher risk that those that only participate in one of these activities. If you are thinking about getting a screen but are not sure you need one, here is a list of things your dentist looks for when they do a cancer screening:

  • Red or white patchs
  • Sores that bleeds easily and/or will not heal
  • Thick or hard lump
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Tenderness

If you or one you know has any of these symptoms then be sure to visit your local general dentist to have a professional exam and ensure your oral health.  If you would like to learn more visit this link http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/DentalPatient_0510.pdf