Early detection of dental disease and oral cancer can improve a patient’s likelihood of successful treatment. Dentists recommend regular oral cancer screenings to monitor your oral health and promote early detection and treatment.
The Moffitt Cancer Center suggests that adults 20 years and older should have oral cancer screenings every three years, while those 40 years and older should have them annually. Your dentist will likely perform these oral cancer screenings during the same appointment as your regularly scheduled exams.
Annual oral cancer screenings are highly encouraged for those who use tobacco, drink alcohol, have human papillomavirus (HPV), or have a family history of cancer.
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Your dentist starts the oral cancer screening with a clinical exam of your mouth and throat. We typically use a light, mirror, and tongue depressor to check for abnormalities, such as bumps, patches of color, swelling, or ulcerations. Your dentist examines your entire mouth, including tonsils, inner cheeks, tongue, gums, and the roof of the mouth. We will also check the neck, cheeks, jaw, and under the chin for any unusual nodules or masses.
We may use a special oral dye or light to evaluate the area and highlight any irregular tissues if we detect any abnormalities.
Lowering Your Risk of Oral Cancers
Our dental team recommends conducting self-exams for oral cancer every month. Please get in touch with your dentist if you notice any changes or irregularities—such as sores, lumps, or discolored or white patches of tissue.
You can also lower your risk of oral cancer by doing the following:
- Quit smoking and using tobacco products.
- Cut back on consuming alcohol, especially if you’re a heavy drinker.
- Protect your skin and lips from UV rays using sunscreen and protective wear, like hats or umbrellas.
- Reduce your risk of HPV.
If you’d like more information on any of the above, our friendly and knowledgeable team would be happy to speak with you. We can offer you the support and resources you need to lower your risk of oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Screenings in Winter Springs, FL
Oral cancer screenings can save your life. Our dental team at Advanced Dental Care is here to help you and your smile stay healthy. Contact us today to schedule your regular checkup or oral cancer screening at our Winter Springs dental office.