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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 can refer to any type of cancer that is found inside of the mouth, as well as in the back of the throat. These cancers occur in areas such as the mouth and gum tissues, on and under the tongue and in the back of the throat. Oral cancer is a dangerous disease, as it is difficult to detect in the early stages without a thorough examination from your dentist. This type of cancer can rapidly spread to other parts of your body. Dental hygienists and dentists search for signs of this type of cancer whenever they conduct a routine cleaning or checkup. These screenings are an important reason why you need to be seeing your dentist on a consistent basis. It’s also why we’re providing you with this helpful guide as a part of Mouth Cancer Action Month in November. This guide will give you advice on how to detect, treat and prevent oral cancer, as well as what our office can do to help you.

Keep your mouth and smile as healthy as you possibly can by booking an appointment with a dentist in Denville!

What Are Oral Cancer Symptoms?

One of the most important things you can do to fight against oral cancer is to know what the signs and symptoms are. While noticing the early signs can be difficult without your dentist, knowing what to look out for in between your routine examinations will help you to know when to contact your dentist about any abnormalities that pop up in between visits. Some signs of oral cancer to be aware of include:

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

If you are ever in any doubt about something that is going on with your oral health, don’t hesitant to contact your dentist to schedule an appointment. Your oral health is important, and your dentist is here as an important part of your healthcare team.

What Can Cause Oral Cancer?

While age is one of the risk factors of oral cancer, the majority of oral cancer cases are directly linked to lifestyle choices. In fact, nearly 90% of oral cancers that are diagnosed have been caused by various lifestyle factors. Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to this disease, so much so that it is linked to two out of every three diagnoses per year. Alcohol use is also linked to the disease. The combination of smoking and heavy alcohol use triples the risk of the development of oral cancer. In addition to these activities, using chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco also increases your risk. This is because of the toxic ingredients contained within the products. Other lifestyle factors that can lead to oral cancer include sun exposure, as well as the consumption of diet that doesn’t include the correct minerals and vitamins.

How Is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?

Early detection is the key to ensuring that oral cancer can be successfully treated. This is because oral cancer is a disease that rapidly spreads throughout the body. Oral cancer screenings are typically included as a part of the routine dental check-ups that you receive from your dentist. An oral cancer screening is a fast and painless procedure that consists of your dentist looking at your mouth, lips, cheeks, face, and neck for any indication of oral cancer. In addition to this, your dentist may feel around the face, neck, and jawline areas for lumps.

Oral Cancer Treatment

If your dentist notices any symptoms that could point towards oral cancer, he or she will probably refer you to a specialist. Patients who have oral cancer typically work with their general dentist, oral or maxillofacial surgeons and oncologists for treatment. Oral cancer that is in its earliest stages is typically treated via surgery and/or radiation therapy. More advanced forms of cancer may require radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is a newer type of treatment method consisting of medicine or other substances being used to directly attack the cancer cells.

Of course, the type of treatment that you will be prescribed will depend on your individual case. Factors that are taken into consideration when developing a treatment plan for oral cancer include your overall physical health, the location of the cancer, the size and type of any tumors found and whether the cancer has spread to other areas.

Keep your mouth and smile as healthy as you possibly can by booking an appointment with a dentist in Denville!

What Should I Do to Prevent Oral Cancer?

Luckily, there are actions that you can take to avoid the development of oral cancer. Preventing oral cancer consists of making healthy lifestyle choices, as well as seeing your dentist consistently for checkups and oral cancer screenings. These routine visits will make it more likely that your dentist will catch any issues early on when they are easier to treat. Another thing you can to do decrease your risk of oral cancer is to establish a healthy and balanced diet that includes omega-3-rich foods, minerals and vitamins. The plus side to establishing this sort of diet is that it not only helps your oral health, but your overall physical health too!

Receiving a diagnosis of oral cancer can be scary. It’s important to understand that early diagnosis makes this disease a treatable one. You should also make healthy lifestyle choices that will lessen your chances of getting oral cancer. Avoid smoking and tobacco use in general, as well as the heavy consumption of alcohol. Be sure to eat a balanced diet and schedule routine visits with your dentist. Monitor your oral health in between visits to take note of any abnormalities that may occur.

Keep your mouth and smile as healthy as you possibly can by booking an appointment with a dentist in Denville!

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Diamond Spring Dental Associates

16 Pocono Road, Suite 116, Denville, NJ 07834

(973) 810-5905