Seeing your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings are important appointments to make. Not only do they keep your mouth healthy, but they prevent your risk of developing more serious oral and overall health issues. One part of a regular dental checkup that your dentist provides is an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer can often go undetected, which makes a visit to your dentist potentially life-saving. Keep reading to learn how often you should get an oral cancer check in Ephrata to make sure you’re healthy and cancer-free.
What Increases My Risk of Oral Cancer?
Here are some common factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer:
- Smoking or tobacco use of any kind
- Heavy use of alcohol
- If you’ve had oral cancer in the past
- History of significant sun exposure
What Should I Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening?
During an oral cancer screening, your dentist will check the entirety of your mouth for any irregularities or signs of cancer. They will carefully examine your mouth, gums, tongue, cheeks, lips, jaw, head, and neck to check for any lumps, lesions, redness, or symptoms of oral cancer. They will also feel along your jaw, neck, and in your mouth to check for lumps or abnormalities. This takes a matter of minutes, and with the help of a professional, you’ll get the piece of mind of knowing you don’t have oral cancer.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Because oral cancer has a higher success rate when caught in its earlier stages, it’s important to know some of the most common signs and symptoms:
- White or reddish patches in your mouth
- A sore on your lip or mouth that doesn’t heal
- Lumps inside of your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Ear pain
- Mouth pain
- Difficulty chewing
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
How Often Should I Get an Oral Cancer Screening?
It is widely recommended that you receive an oral cancer screening once a year. This can easily be done during your routine dental checkups, which should be scheduled twice a year anyway. Especially if any of the above risk factors fit your lifestyle, be sure to ask your dentist for an oral cancer screening the next time you visit. A regular dental appointment can save your life!
Now that you know more about oral cancer screenings and when to get them, visit your dentist and eliminate any risk factors to keep your oral and overall health in tip-top shape!
About the Practice
At Ephrata Family Dentistry, we have a team of 3 dentists with a passion for helping their patients. They’ve seen the damage that untreated oral cancer can do, which is why they offer expert oral cancer screenings at their practice. For any questions, they can be reached through their website or by phone at (717) 733-1088.