Why Do We Provide Oral Cancer Screenings?
At Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness, we are passionate about oral health. This is one of the reasons we recommend staying up to date with your routine oral hygiene examinations. During these appointments, we do more than just clean your teeth. We also thoroughly inspect them for signs of decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Any of these issues can have serious and lasting effects if not diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion. Approximately more than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Oral cancer can be located anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, gums, and throat. The good news is that oral cancer is quite treatable.
Signs of Oral Cancer
We see patients so infrequently during the year that it is important to regularly check your mouth for anything that may seem different. Warning signs of oral cancer can include:
- Discomfort or tenderness in the gums, cheeks, or tongue
- A sore or irritated area that does not heal
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- A lump or rough spot in the mouth
Risk Factors that Cause Oral Cancer
There are some patients who are more susceptible to developing oral cancer. While it can affect anyone, some people have a higher chance due to lifestyle choices and family history. These risk factors include:
- Using any form of chewing tobacco
- Unhealthy diet
- Extensive sun exposure
- Repeated overconsumption of alcohol
Since it is still summer, and the sun is hot, hot, hot, we encourage all of our patients to use sunscreen daily. This includes sunscreen on your lips as well. As mentioned above, oral cancer can be caused by extensive sun exposure, and we want our patients to be safe. While sunscreen is absolutely essential in the summer, you should be using sunscreen all year to protect the delicate skin on your face, neck, and chest.
If you are in Charlotte, NC or the surrounding area and need a hygiene examination and cleaning, be sure to contact our office to schedule an appointment. Call us as soon as possible if you experience any changes in your mouth and are concerned you may have oral cancer. We look forward to hearing from you soon.