Seeing your dentist every six months doesn’t just keep your smile looking beautiful. It’s also an essential element of preserving your oral health and guarding against potentially life-threatening conditions like oral cancer.
At each of these routine checkups, your dentist will complete an oral cancer screening, looking for symptoms like unusual red or white patches, lumps or other lesions. Often such issues turn out to be benign, but they can indicate oral cancer, so it’s important to get further testing to confirm the nature of the growth or lesion.
It’s also important for patients to be aware of the warning signs of oral cancer and monitor themselves at home for such concerning symptoms. If you notice a suspicious lesion or white or red patch or a sore that is not healing after two weeks, you should make arrangements to see your dentist as possible for a professional oral cancer screening and possible biopsy, if needed. The website checkyourmouth.org offers a helpful guide for how to spot possible oral cancer.
Additionally, patients who have known risk factors for oral cancer, such as a history of smoking, using chewing tobacco or drinking excessively, should be even more diligent about getting an oral cancer screening at least twice a year, as well as being on the lookout for signs of oral cancer at home in between those professional appointments. These risk factors can have a wide range of effects on your oral health, making it even more important for you to get appropriate professional care and examinations.
The prognosis for oral cancer is good when the condition is diagnosed and treated early, before it has the opportunity to spread to surrounding tissues or metastasize elsewhere in the body. Unfortunately, however, far too many oral cancers are diagnosed at later stages. To increase your likelihood of detecting oral cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage, be sure to schedule your routine checkups every six months at Fresh Dental today!