Your overall health is affected by your oral health, which is why it is really important to visit your dentist regularly for dental check-ups. While cavities, plaque, and gum disease are common problems that you might experience if you are not careful with your oral health, you also run the risk of developing oral cancer. Oral cancer tends to be painless and many patients overlook the symptoms. However, if detected early, oral cancer is curable with a significantly improved recovery rate over later detections.
At Orpington Dental Care, we urge our patients to visit the dental practice for a mouth cancer screening as soon as they notice something wrong with their mouth or throat. Ideally, the screening should be performed at least once a year or more frequently if you are at higher risk of developing oral cancer. The screening process is painless and very quick.
Who can get oral cancer?
Though generally, people who smoke or drink excessively are at higher risk of developing oral cancer, anyone can be at risk. New findings also suggest that while most oral cancers are diagnosed in people aged 45 and over, younger patients are also at risk due to complications caused by HPV, a sexually transmitted disease.
What are the warning signs?
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in or around the mouth including the tongue, lips, cheeks, palates, sinuses and the throat. The signs and symptoms of oral cancer typically mean it is already developed and you are running out of time to treat it effectively. These include white patches in your mouth, bleeding that is not related to gum disease, swelling, lumps, bumps, spots and sores on the face and the neck that do not heal. Your dentist will examine your face, mouth and throat thoroughly and determine whether any of these symptoms are related to oral cancer. Sometimes the issue can be something entirely unrelated, and sometimes it can be oral cancer. However, any of these symptoms warrant a visit to the dentist to request a mouth cancer screening.
By making it a point to visit your dentist regularly, you make it easier for oral cancer and other dental problems to be identified and treated at an early stage.