Dalton Dentist Looks for Signs of Oral Cancer

Posted on: June 24, 2014

Dalton DentistAt our local Dalton dentist office, we conduct dental examinations and teeth cleanings in order to prevent oral health issues.  During these exams, we look for signs of cavities, gum disease, and even oral cancer.  It is important to detect and treat oral health issues early, before they start to cause our patients pain.  This is especially true when it comes to oral cancer.  Around 35,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year.  Early detection and treatment is key to beating it.Oral cancer impacts men more often than women.  Men over the age of fifty are at a particularly high risk and the chances of getting oral cancer are also much higher when these habits are involved:
  • Drinking excessive alcohol. Drinking in moderation is unlikely to cause health problems. However, excessive drinking that involves more than two drinks a day or binge drinking can lead to liver problems and even oral cancer.  People that drink too much have a six times greater likelihood of developing this disease.
  • Smoking. People that smoke cigarettes or cigars also have a higher chance of getting oral cancer.  Surprisingly, the risk is the same as excessive drinking.  Smoking can also damage your teeth and gums directly by placing a sticky plaque on the inside of your mouth.  By quitting, your oral health will be greatly improved.
  • Using smokeless tobacco. Some people switch from cigarettes to chewing tobacco, dip, or snuff thinking that it is healthier for them.  While it may be better for the lungs, it is terrible for your oral health.  People that use smokeless tobacco products have a sixty times higher chance of being diagnosed with oral cancer.  This may also contribute to why more men get the disease than women, as men are more likely to chew.
  • Spending too much time in the sun. Overexposure to the sun is bad for your skin and can cause oral cancer.  When young people are overexposed, they are at greater risk for developing the disease.
When patients have an exam at our Dalton dentist office, we will look for signs of oral cancer.  It is easier for us to see inside of your mouth than it is for you at home.  This means that common signs and symptoms can be easily missed without regular trips to the dentist. Regular examinations can mean early detection rather then and finding out when the cancer is in its’ later stages.During your dental exam, we will look for sores on the inside of your mouth.  If they have only been there a few days, they may be a canker sore.  If sores last longer than two weeks, they are typically a sign of a larger health issue.  We will also look for red and white velvety bumps.  These can be harder to see and may not hurt, leaving them undetected.  These bumps may be signs of cancer.At home, you can watch for strange bumps or lumps that develop along with rough patches.  By running your tongue along your gums and the insides of your cheeks, you should be able to tell if something new or strange has developed.  If it has, call our Dalton dentist office and schedule an appointment to have a dental examination.

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