Do I Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Grand Rapids Dentists

Do I Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

350 200 Grand Rapids MI Dentist

Do I Need an Oral Cancer Screening Dentist Grand RapidsMore than 50,000 Americans will get oral or throat cancer annually, according to recent data provided by the American Cancer Society.

Protect your health and ask one of our preventive dentists for an oral cancer screening. We can detect oral cancer in its early stages so you have the best chance of survival.

Continue reading to learn whether or not you need to ask your dentist for an oral cancer screening during your next appointment.

Early Signs of Mouth Cancer

It’s important to understand that you may not exhibit oral cancer symptoms until it’s too late. Fortunately, an oral cancer screening is able to detect cancer in its early stages.

During your appointment, our dentists will check for anything that looks suspicious, such as red or white patches inside the mouth. We also use an oral cancer screening device to check for signs of cancer not visible to the human eye.

Oral cancer symptoms include:

  • Red or white patches in mouth
  • Tongue sores
  • Mouth sores
  • Lumps inside mouth or on lips
  • Lump in throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Prolonged numbness or pain in any area of the mouth
  • Pain while chewing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Loosening of teeth

You may be at a higher risk for oral cancer if you smoke, abuse alcohol, or don’t use sun protection on your lips. Fortunately, our dentists will be able to check your medical history for factors that put you at higher risk for mouth cancer.

How Oral Cancer Screenings Save Lives

Oral cancer screenings save lives because most people are unaware they have cancer until it’s too late to take action. Thankfully, our dentists are trained to recognize the signs of oral cancer.

During the screening, we will inspect the inside of your mouth for patches or sores, as well as feel for lumps on your cheeks, tongue, and gums. We also use a special device to detect the early signs of mouth cancer. By detecting cancer in its early stages, you have a much better chance of survival after diagnosis.

How to Reduce Your Risk for Oral Cancer

While science hasn’t yet come up with a way to completely prevent oral cancer, there are things you can do to lower your risk. For example, if you spend a lot of time outside, we highly recommend always wearing sun protection on your lips.

How to help reduce the risk of oral cancer:

  • Avoid tobacco of any kind (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, etc.)
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Use lip balm with SPF 30 or higher
  • Eat a well-balanced diet (more fruits and veggies!)
  • Try to stay out of the sun as much as possible

One of the best ways to protect your oral health is to see our dentists every 6 months for a routine dental exam and teeth cleaning. While we understand sitting in the dentist’s chair probably isn’t your favorite thing to do, it’s important for your overall well-being.

If oral cancer runs in your family, please let us know during your first visit. Having that information for our records will help us determine if you need to be screened more frequently.

Remember, scheduling an oral cancer screening is a small step that could end up saving your life.

Set Up Your Next Appointment Today

Our family dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, are dedicated to helping you maintain a beautiful healthy smile. To schedule your appointment today, call GR Family Dental at (616) 455-3020.

This blog post has been updated.