April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
By now we all know that investing your time to visit your dentist two times a year is not only recommended but essential for your oral health but did you know that your dentist checks for a multitude of issues you might not even think about, such as an Oral Cancer screening? In fact, Oral Cancer can be detected in its early stages by the trained eye which allows you a far greater outcome in terms of treatment. Oral Cancer screenings do not require any special preparation before your appointment and are typically done during regular office and hygiene appointments.

What to Expect:
During your visit, your dentist will thoroughly look at the inside your mouth for sours, white patches, and lumps or other abnormalities to detect possible warning signs. If something looks suspicious another appointment will be made for further testing for a diagnosis. If you have dentures, they will be taken out and the gums and tissue will be examined.

Early Warning Signs
Each individual’s signs and symptoms will vary based on different factors such as lifestyle but in general, these are some of the warning signs to watch for when it comes to oral cancer. If you have any of these symptoms that last more than 2-weeks, you should make an appointment to be evaluated. It is also important to remember that these signs could also mimic less serious health conditions such as allergies or infection so try not to jump to conclusions when it comes to your own health.
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A sore or lump in the are of the mouth, throat or lips
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tenderness, pain, or lumps anywhere in or around your mouth
  • A sore in your mouth that does not heal

Risk Factors
It is believed that certain mutations in the DNA of a cell causes cancer, but certain risk factors do come in to play when it comes to this type of cancer. Here are just a few.
  • Prolonged or excessive alcohol and tobacco use
  • Age, the risk of oral cancer increases as you age, with the typical diagnosis being from ages 62 and older.
  • History of the Human papillomavirus (HPV): A sexually transmitted infection, HPV has been linked to oral cancer.
  • Exposure to the sun
  • Males are twice as likely to develop this type of cancer than women.

Visiting the dentist every six months gives you the chance to talk with your doctor and receive answers for any questions you may have about your oral health, including oral cancer concerns and screenings. Checkups are also a great way for you to find out about new treatments that may benefit your smile. At Walden Square Dental Care we believe that your dental visits should be as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Our staff is dedicated to treating you as a unique individual and to assure that you are happy with the quality and aesthetics of your dental care. Visit us online today or call us to schedule an appointment 847-223-0110.


Sources:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/oral-cancer-screening/about/pac-20394802
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322575.php