September 18, 2019
Everyone knows that you need to go to the dentist every six months. Your dentist in Naples keeps your teeth clean and checks them for routine problems like cavities and gum disease. But did you know there is another main issue that your dentist checks for? At least once a year, your dentist thoroughly examines your mouth for signs of oral cancer. Read more to find out how.
What Is Oral Cancer?
When cells continue to grow and divide where a healthy cell would divide, it forms cancer. These abnormal mouth cells can accumulate into a tumor. If you have a tumor that doesn’t get checked out by your dentist soon enough, it could spread to other areas of your mouth, neck, or head.
Oral cancer is fairly common, with about 50,000 cases in America every year. About a fifth of those diagnosed will not survive to see five years. However, don’t worry. As long as you visit your dentist every year and get yourself checked out, oral cancer can get detected and treated fairly easily, before it becomes a huge problem.
How Does Your Dentist Identify Oral Cancer?
Your dentist will examine your throat and all of your oral structures for:
- Red or white patches
- Changes in the texture or color of the soft tissues
- Growths or lumps
- Loose teeth that may indicate cancer in the gums
Even if your next appointment isn’t for a while, you should still see your dentist if you experience anything listed above or any of the following signs of oral cancer:
- Pain when swallowing or difficulty swallowing
- Ear pain or mouth pain
- A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t go away
Can You Prevent Oral Cancer?
There’s so surefire way to keep oral cancer from striking. However, there are a few things you can do to lessen your chance of developing it. The main thing is to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. The chemicals in tobacco have been long proven to cause cancer. It’s also a good idea to limit your alcohol intake as well. Alcohol, especially when consumed frequently, can irritate the cells in your mouth and make them vulnerable to oral cancer.
Also, avoid frequent and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight whenever possible. If you’re going to go out in the sun, wear lip balm with at least SPF 30 to protect your lips from sun damage. Wear a wide-brimmed hat that will shield your face, including your mouth.
Oral cancer might sound scary, but as long as you visit your dentist regularly, it doesn’t have to be. Early detection is the best possible treatment. If it’s been a while since your last dental appointment, schedule one today to set your mind at ease.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Skupny obtained his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the prestigious University of Florida College of Dental Medicine in 2007. Following that, he moved to Naples, FL to serve the people of his community. He is an active member of the Academy of General Dentistry and the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. In addition, he has achieved Diplomate status in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. To book your appointment to get screened for oral cancer, click here or call (239) 261-5566.
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