When I talk to you about preventative dentistry, you probably think of things like cavity prevention, tooth-loss prevention, and gum disease prevention. While these are certainly issues I’d like to help you avoid, one thing that probably doesn’t come to mind is oral cancer prevention. How can a dentist help you diagnose and possibly prevent oral cancer? Read on to learn more.
There are many reasons why I recommend that you come in at least twice a year. Semi-annual cleanings and exams keep your teeth clean, ensure that your gums stay healthy, and allow me and my team members to keep an eye on the health of your oral tissues. Your primary care physician may do a thorough job, but who knows the inside of your mouth like your dentist?
When you come in for an exam, we check for the following signs of oral cancer:
- Sores or bumps that don’t seem to go away
- Bleeding sores
- Rough or thickened tissue
- Discomfort or numbness of the mouth
We go far beyond just a glance with the naked eye. We will also feel your mouth tissues to detect any abnormalities and use special lights that identify potentially dangerous cells that we otherwise couldn’t detect.
You already know that dental health is closely linked with overall health, but when it comes to oral cancer, your dental appointments just might save your life. When you visit us regularly, we’re more likely to catch suspicious areas early, when they are easiest to treat. If we see you infrequently, it’s not so easy to prevent oral cancers from developing into something more harmful.
If you’re a champion brusher and flosser and are not overly concerned with tooth decay or gum disease, you still need to see me twice a year. Doing so will help you live a long and healthy life. Contact my office today to schedule an exam.