Are You At Risk Of Developing Oral Cancer?
Oral Cancer Screenings Save Lives
Oral cancer, commonly called mouth cancer, occurs inside the mouth and can involve the lips, gums, tongue, lining of the cheeks, and roof or floor of the mouth. Those at risk for developing some form of mouth cancer include:
- Tobacco use—cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff and chewing tobacco
- Heavy alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
- Significant sun exposure (increase of lip cancer)
- Exposure to HPV—the human papillomavirus
Do you have suspicious oral symptoms?
Some signs that there might be a problem in your mouth or throat include—sores that don’t heal; a noticeable lump or ‘thickening’ of the mucous membrane; visible white or red patches on the soft tissue; pain chewing and swallowing; painful tongue, throat or jaw; loose teeth or poorly fitting dentures.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should ask your dentist to perform an oral cancer screening after your regular exam.
Oral screening is quick and painless
The dentist will begin by completing a visual examination of the mouth and throat to check for abnormal changes in the mucous membranes. The dentist might recommend passing a chemiluminescent light over your mouth, after using a special rinse, to identify some soft tissue abnormalities not visible to the naked eye that may be pre-cancerous. Otherwise, the dentist may feel the soft tissue to ensure there are no noticeable lumps in an affected area.
This quick painless screening is just the first step in managing any abnormality you are concerned about in your mouth. If you are at risk of developing some form of oral cancer be sure to visit your family doctor for regular medical check-ups and ask about ways that you can help reduce the risk.
For the month of April, in support of Oral Health and National Cancer month, Teeth First Dental Network will be offering free oral cancer screening. Our goal at Teeth First Dental Network is to provide the necessary care and compassion to promote a healthy smile, and peace of mind.