The more you know about certain diseases, the more you can make positive decisions to keep you, and your family, healthy. Without proper knowledge, though, you can quickly find yourself at a higher risk for serious conditions. Most Americans are relatively unaware of oral cancer risks and prevention. However, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, almost 50,000 people will be newly diagnosed with some type of oral cancer this year alone. Here’s what you need to know to prevent and identify oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Prevention
Prevention of oral cancer begins with healthy habits. Smoking and tobacco use increase your chances of oral cancer immensely. Make this month the month you choose to quit, working with support groups and your doctor for help. Vaping or using electronic cigarettes have not been studied long term, but research is pointing to increased oral cancer risk for this habit as well. Eliminate smoking, vaping, and tobacco use to decrease your risk of oral cancer.
One of the fastest growing segments of oral cancer patients are younger people with a connection to the HPV virus. If you know you have HPV, work closely with your health care team, including your dentist, to manage your risk by participating in frequent oral health screenings.
Identifying Oral Cancer
Fortunately, oral cancer can be treated successfully if the cancer is detected quickly. One of the easiest ways to identify oral cancer is through an oral cancer screening at your next dentist appointment. An oral cancer screening is quick, easy, and not painful.
Your dentist will not only look in your mouth for lesions, discolorations, or other indicators of potential worrisome areas, but will also feel areas for lumps or abnormalities. Sometimes, your dentist may choose to use special tools to brush parts of your mouth or to get a better look. In any case, you will be done before you know it and can follow up with additional care if needed.
If you haven’t been in to your dentist lately, make your appointment today. Semiannual dental appointments are covered by most insurance plans and include oral cancer screenings. If you don’t have a dentist that you love, we would love to meet you! Give us a call today to find out more about our professional and caring staff.