Did you know that your dentist could help you prevent and detect oral cancer? When you visit your dentist for your biannual checkups, he can also inspect your mouth for signs of oral cancer. As with other types of cancer, early detection can greatly increase your chances for successful treatment and full recovery. If you identify with any of the following circumstances that can increase your chances of oral cancer, you may want to schedule an oral cancer examination with your dentist.
You use tobacco.
Do you smoke cigarettes or a pipe? If so, you may be at risk for oral cancer. This habit, which introduces carcinogens into the mouth, lungs, and other parts of the body, can significantly increase your danger for many cancers. If you smoke, contact your dentist about getting an oral cancer examination. If you are a former smoker, you may still want to consult your dentist about your oral cancer risks. Your dentist may also be able to provide suggestions for smoking cessation programs.
You spend a lot of time outdoors
If you work outside, you may be increasing your risk for oral cancer. All skin tissues, including those of the lips, can develop cancerous growths from constant sun exposure. That is why you should consult your dentist if you have been exposed to the sun for long periods over your lifetime. Even weekends spent outdoors can heighten your danger for oral cancer over time.
You can see sores on your lips, cheeks, or gums
Like any other part of the body, your mouth might suffer from cuts or abrasions from time to time. However, if you have sores that refuse to recover after a few weeks or months, they may be signs of oral cancer. If you develop unusual wounds inside or around your mouth for any length of time, do not wait for them to heal on their own. Instead, call your dentist to schedule an oral cancer examination. Patches of red or white skin inside the mouth may also be cancerous.
The Smile Design Center of Baltimore offers a comprehensive array of oral health services for individuals in the greater Lutherville community. If you suspect that you may be at risk for oral cancer, call us at (443) 275-9821 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.