Oral Cancer Prevention in Prescott
Seeing a dentist for regular checkups is an important part of living a healthy life. But did you know that when you come to Prescott Dentistry for your biannual checkups, we do more than just clean your teeth? We also help keep your mouth cancer-free. April was National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss why screenings are an important part of oral cancer prevention.
You May Not Realize You are at Risk
Oral cancer affects more than 50,000 Americans per year. Anyone can develop oral cancer, but certain lifestyle habits may increase your risk, including:
- Smoking: All tobacco products contain deadly carcinogens and have been definitively linked to oral cancer.
- Heavy alcohol use: All forms of alcohol have been linked to oral cancer, but liquor and beer have higher associated risks of oral cancer.
- Frequent sun exposure: Spending prolonged periods in the sun without sunscreen or sun protection can increase your risk of lip cancer.
- Studies have also found that a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables may put you at greater risk of developing oral cancer.
- HPV: Human Papilloma Virus, a sexually transmitted disease, has been associated with cancers of the throat.
Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer, regardless of their lifestyle and health. Adults 40 and over are also at an increased risk. If you have a predisposition to oral cancer, it’s especially important that you let us know and schedule regular screenings at our office.
You May Not Notice Oral Cancer Symptoms
Many symptoms of oral cancer are mild at first, but this is when detection is most important. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Unexplained bleeding or numbness in your mouth
- Dentures that fit differently than they used to
- Red or white sores in your mouth that don’t heal
- Lump in your mouth or throat
- Loose teeth
- Pain in your mouth or ear
- Jaw pain or stiffness when chewing
- Difficult or painful swallowing
Oral Cancer Can Be Cured With Early Detection
More than 10,00 people die of oral cancer every year, but almost all cases can be successfully treated if caught early enough. This is why screenings are so important. During your regular dental exam, your dentist will check your lips, cheeks, teeth and gums for early signs of oral cancer. Your dentist can see and feel precancerous tissue changes and signs of early cancer, and can diagnose them during the curable stages. When oral cancer is detected early, the survival rate is an encouraging 80% to 90%.
Give us a Call
We are currently only open for dental emergencies due to COVID-19, but give us a call now to get on the books for when we reopen for routine cleanings and exams—appointments are filling up fast! Oral cancer screenings as part of your routine dental appointments with us are your best defense against this disease. So while it may not seem like a big deal to miss a dental appointment every once in a while, keep in mind that your life could actually depend on it. Oral cancer prevention is just one of the many ways our holistic dentists at Prescott Dentistry help you care for your overall health.