Regular checkups with your dentist help more than just developing a beautiful smile. Your dentist will also take the opportunity to examine your cheeks, gums, and lips for signs of oral cancer. For people who have a higher chance of getting oral cancer, regular checkups and screenings are crucial. At Parkcrest Dental Group, we take your total oral health into account. Learn why you should schedule an oral cancer screening or dental appointment at least twice a year.
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Patients Who Are at a Higher Risk of Oral Cancer
There are a number of reasons that you may be at a greater risk of having oral cancer. If any of the following traits or habits apply to you, we strongly recommend you schedule regular oral cancer screenings:
- If you smoke, chew, vape, or use any type of tobacco product
- If you regularly drink alcohol
- If you or your family have had cancer in the past, or have a history of cancer
- If you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun
- If you have been diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV)
- If you have a diet low in fruits and vegetables
- If you have another condition that weakens your immune system
If you think you may be at higher risk of oral cancer, or any of the above factors apply to you, bring up your concerns with your dentist. We can recommend regular screening tests and lifestyle factors you can adopt to decrease your risk of oral cancer.
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What Takes Place in an Oral Cancer Screening?
Generally, your dentist will simply examine your mouth, under your tongue, and the areas around your neck and chin for lumps, spots, or anything that appears unusual. You may not even realize that your dentist is checking for signs of oral cancer. Most of the time, this process is simply done as part of your regular dental checkup. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, like lumps or spots in or around your mouth, contact your dentist to request they examine it.
Keep in mind, however, not every lump is a sign of cancer. Oftentimes, regular swelling or sores can form in your mouth that are completely benign. You should still schedule an examination, but there is no reason to panic just because you have found something in your mouth out of the ordinary.
Schedule Your Next Appointment at Parkcrest Dental Group
If it has been more than six months since your last dental checkup, consider visiting the team at Parkcrest Dental Group. We would be more than happy to give you a thorough and expert dental examination. Schedule your next appointment online, or give our team a call at 1-417-877-1220 today.