This year, as many as 50,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with oral cancer, and nearly 10,000 people will succumb to the condition. For dentists around the country, these numbers are unacceptable, so to raise the consciousness about this growing threat, April has been designated as National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. As you read further, learn why it’s so important to visit your dentist in Melbourne for preventive care, and discover how an oral cancer screening could save your life!
The Development of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer usually begins in the flat cells that cover the mouth, tongue and lips. Here are some of the usual warning signs of the disease:
- Sudden weight loss
- A white or red patch in the mouth
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Increased sensitivity and tenderness
- Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw stiffness
- Lumps in the mouth, on the lips or in the throat
Why an Oral Cancer Screening is So Important
At a six-month visit, as part of the preventive care your dentist provides, you’ll undergo an oral cancer screening, which is typically segmented into two parts:
- Visual Assessment – The dentist will be assessing such areas as the lips, face, neck, oral cavity and the nostrils, and he or she will be looking for any of the above-listed warning signs.
- Hands-on Examination – To ensure you receive the most thorough examination possible, the dentist will then perform a hands-on assessment to probe the same areas for any signs of a developing problem.
What Else You Stand to Gain from Visiting for Preventive Care
In addition to receiving an oral cancer screening, you’ll also have your teeth cleaned. Then, you’ll undergo an examination of your mouth, teeth and gums to identify any signs of decay, the primary cause of which is bacteria growth.
Researchers have found a correlation between untreated bacteria and the development of oral cancer, so your proactive efforts to receive preventive care are definitely key components to preserving your oral health.
A Bright Ray of Hope
Studies show that when oral cancer is identified and treated in its earlier stages, the chances of reaching the five-year survival benchmark increase to 75%. However, bypassing preventive care and allowing the disease to fester can greatly impact the chances of remission.
So now that you’re better informed about why it’s a must to visit your dentist for preventive care, the remaining step is to reach out to your local dentist to schedule a visit today. Thus, you can experience the sense of empowerment that comes along with protecting your oral and overall health!
About the Author
Dr. Beverly Rose is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry. With over 20 years of experience in the dental field, she has a wealth of knowledge and professional perspective to share with her patients. Dr. Rose understands the importance of proactivity and preventive care, which is why she conducts oral cancer screenings at Exceptional Dentistry, and she can be reached for more information through her website.