Oral Cancer and How Your Dentist Prevents It

Oral cancer fatalities in the United States has been decreasing over the last 30 years. However, more than 10,000 people will succumb to this particular cancer each year. For years the medical community has been doing its part to screen their patients for oral cancer and none have been more helpful then dentists. Most offices including ours, incorporate a quick oral screening into all of their patient exams. The procedure takes only a few seconds and screens for both variations of oral cancer. While doctors have yet to find a specific cause of oral cancer there a plenty of factors that increase your risk.

Oral cancer can occur in the oral cavity or the oropharynx. The oral cavity consists of the soft tissue of the mouth such as the tongue, cheek lining or the top and bottom of the mouth. The oropharynx is the part of the mouth where the tonsils and the back of the tongue are located.
The symptoms include but are not always limited too:
  • ·         A sore or red patch
  • ·         Pain and tenderness in the mouth
  • ·         Difficulty swallowing
  • ·         A lump or small eroded area.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should see your dentist right away. Early detection is the key to overcoming oral cancer. According to the Cancer Treatment Center of America, oral cancer is still predominantly caused by tobacco. In fact, 80% of all oral cancer recipients say they use tobacco on a regular basis. Therefore, if you are currently a tobacco user as well, quitting will greatly reduce your chance of contracting this particular cancer. Oral cancer can also be attributed to genetic traits such as Fanconi Anemia which is an inherited blood disorder. Oral cancer is also linked to the HPV virus. Maintaining a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables as well as brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist regularly has been known to reduce the chance of contracting oral cancer.

Jackson Family Dentistry has worked tirelessly to not only educate our patients on oral cancer but reduce the mortality rate of oral cancer in our patients by screening all of our patients for this disease. This process has helped several of our patients detect oral cancer in its early stages. We also teach our patients oral preventative maintenance, to not only decrease their chances of contracting oral cancer but also to limit their trips to the dentist. If you would like any more information on oral cancer, please give our office a call. 


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