April 22, 2021
With more than 51,000 new cases diagnosed each year, the prevalence of oral cancer is undeniable. Unfortunately, many of the initial symptoms often fly under the radar, especially if bi-yearly visits to your dentist have fallen to the wayside. However, early detection and intervention are of the utmost importance when it comes to effectively beating the disease. With this in mind, keep reading to learn about the most common risk factors, symptoms to look out for, and how your dentist can help!
What Puts You At-Risk for Oral Cancer?
Although extensive research is still underway on the intricacies of oral cancer, there are a few risk factors that significantly increase your chances of being diagnosed, such as:
- Tobacco use.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Being diagnosed with HPV or another head or neck cancer.
- Persistent, unprotected exposure to the sun.
- Age (specifically, patients 45 and older).
If any of the above are relevant to you, it is of the utmost importance that you keep an eye out for the common symptoms of oral cancer, including mouth sores, red patches on your gums, swelling in your neck, and difficulty swallowing. Don’t worry – your dentist will check for these symptoms during your bi-yearly dental checkups and cleanings as well.
4 Important Prevention Tactics to Minimize Your Risk
Although the prevalence of oral cancer is initially disheartening to hear, it is important to remember that you can minimize your risk by:
- Quitting unhealthy dental habits, like smoking.
- Eating a balanced diet that is packed with nutrient-dense, vitamin-rich foods.
- Implementing a solid oral hygiene routine (i.e., brushing twice a day, flossing daily, etc.).
- Limiting your sun exposure (and wearing SPF when you are outside).
Why Your Six-Month Dental Checkups Are So Important
All too often, patients chalk up their bi-yearly visits as simply a quick check for cavities. In reality, these appointments play a much bigger role in your oral and overall health! By conducting routine oral cancer screenings, your dentist can keep an eye out for any warning signs, like mouth sores. If they find anything during their exam, they can intervene early on, resulting in potentially life-saving treatment. Therefore, if you are overdue for your six-month dental checkup and cleaning, make sure to schedule yours right away.
About the Practice
Led by Dr. Rosenfeld, our talented team at East Islip Dental Care is focused on providing high-quality dentistry that is meticulous, comprehensive, and compassionate. Through precise and careful preventive care, we can help our patients detect health issues, like oral cancer, in the early stages while simultaneously warding-off decay, removing stubborn surface stains, and cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. If you are at-risk of oral cancer or can’t remember the last time you had a screening, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team via our website or by phone at 631-581-8600.
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