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Diamond Spring Dental Associates
16 Pocono Road, Suite 116, Denville, NJ 07834

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dentist giving oral cancer screening

What is Oral Cancer?

dentist giving oral cancer screening

Oral cancer is also known as mouth cancer. These types of cancers can be found anywhere within the mouth, as well as within the back of the throat. Oral cancers can happen in gum and mouth tissues, under the tongue, on the tongue, and within the area found at the back of the throat. These particular types of cancers have the potential to be incredibly dangerous as they are hard to detect without the help of a dentist when they are in their earliest (and easier to treat) stages. Oral cancer can spread rapidly throughout the body. Fortunately, dentists and dental hygienists often look for signs of oral or mouth cancers while they are conducting routine dental examinations. This makes it very important that you frequently visit your dentist in Denville for routine checkups and cleanings. As a part of Mouth Cancer Action Month in November, we’re here to give you information on how to detect, treat and prevent oral cancer. We’re also here to let you know how our office can help you.

To be sure that your mouth and smile stay as healthy as possible, schedule an appointment with a dentist in Denville today!

What Are Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Knowing the signs of oral cancer is important. Even though it can be hard to notice the early signs without undergoing an examination from your dentist, having an idea of what symptoms to look out for can help you to notice anything abnormal in between your routine visits to the dentist. Some indications of oral cancer that you need to be aware of are:

1. Ulcers or sores that do not heal within three weeks

2. Red and white patches in the mouth

3. Lumps or swellings in the mouth, head, and neck area

4. Growths or patches of scar-like tissues

When it comes to your oral health, you should always get in touch with your dentist if you have any symptoms that have you in doubt. Remember, your dentist is an important part of both your oral and overall physical healthcare team.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

There are an array of factors that can increase a person’s risk of being diagnosed with oral or mouth cancer. Age is one risk factor. However, approximately 90% of all cancers can be linked to lifestyle factors. Smoking is one of those factors. It raises the risk of oral cancer up to 10 times. In fact, two out of three mouth cancer diagnoses are directly linked with smoking. Heavy alcohol use is another risk factor for oral cancer. Combining smoking with heavy alcohol usage triples the risk of developing oral or mouth cancer. Using chewing tobacco and smokeless tobacco is also harmful to your oral health, as the toxic ingredients contained within these products can cause cancer. Other lifestyle choices that can increase your risk include exposure to the sun and eating an unhealthy diet without the appropriate vitamins and minerals.

Where Do You Go to Get Diagnosed with Oral Cancer?

As a disease that has the potential to rapidly spread to other areas of the body, it’s important that oral cancer be detected as soon as possible. The vast majority of dentists perform oral cancer screenings as a part of a patient’s routine dental check-up. Screening for oral cancer is painless and quick. It mostly consists of your dentist examining your mouth, lips, face, and neck for signs of oral cancer, as well as feeling around the face, neck, and jawline for any lumps. Your dentist will also take a look at the inside of your cheeks and lips for any signs of oral cancer.

Treatment for Oral Cancer

If your dentist discovers any signs of oral cancer during your oral cancer screening, he or she will refer you to a specialist. Together, your general dentist will work with a team of specialists who will be a part of your treatment process. These specialists can include oral and maxillofacial surgeons, as well as oncologists. If your cancer has been found while it is in its earliest stages, the chances of your treatment being successful are high. Oral cancer in its early stages is usually treated via the use of surgery or radiation therapy. More advanced types of cancer may need to be treated with the use of radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is another type of cancer treatment that can be successful. This innovative type of treatment utilizes medicine or other kinds of substances that directly target and attack cancer cells.

The exact treatment you will need to undergo will depend on where the cancer is found, the size and type of any tumors, whether the cancer has spread elsewhere, and your overall physical health at the time of your diagnosis.

To be sure that your mouth and smile stay as healthy as possible, schedule an appointment with a dentist in Denville today!

How Can Oral Cancer Be Prevented?

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to assist in preventing oral cancer. Making healthy lifestyle choices, seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and early detection of any signs of oral cancer are all things that you can do to prevent the disease from setting in. In addition to seeing your dentist consistently for cleanings and checkups, you should also maintain a healthy, balanced diet full of minerals, vitamins, and omega-3-rich foods. This assists you in maintaining both your oral and overall physical health.

It’s normal to feel scared after being diagnosed with oral or mouth cancer. However, it’s important to know that early detection makes the disease very treatable. Keeping your risk factors as low as possible will help to keep your oral health intact. To do this, you should avoid smoking, avoid heavy alcohol use, eat a balanced diet and routinely see your dentist. Remember, oral cancer can happen to anybody. Knowing the early signs will help you to know when you need to call your dentist.

To be sure that your mouth and smile stay as healthy as possible, schedule an appointment with a dentist in Denville today!

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Diamond Spring Dental Associates

16 Pocono Road, Suite 116, Denville, NJ 07834

(973) 810-5905