In addition to keeping an eye out for signs of cavities, gum disease, and other common oral health issues, our team also screens for oral cancer. Oral cancers are the sixth most common cancers in the world and affect almost 100,000 Americans.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancers include cancers of the lips, cheek, tongue, palate, sinuses, throat, and floor of the mouth. These cancers can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. Typically, oral cancer will appear as a sore that won’t heal, a red or white patch, or a lump in your mouth.
Who Is at Risk for Oral Cancer?
Certain habits may increase your risk of oral cancer. These habits include smoking and using tobacco products, heavy alcohol use, and significant sun exposure. You can reduce your risk of developing oral cancer by quitting tobacco products or limiting the amount you drink.
Who Needs Oral Cancer Screenings?
Those with an increased risk for oral cancer should get regular oral cancer screenings. Our team talks with each of our patients to learn who may be at risk for oral cancer. Then, we perform basic oral cancer screenings during your dental exams. When performing an oral cancer screening, Dr. Ernst is on the lookout for mouth sores, red or white patches, lumps, and other abnormal developments. While oral cancer screenings cannot prevent oral cancer, they can lead to early detection and improve treatment outcomes.
Contact Us Today!
While the habits and symptoms listed above are linked with oral cancer, they don’t necessarily mean that you will develop oral cancer. For example, many people have mouth sores -- and the vast majority are non-cancerous. However, if you do notice any sudden, unusual changes in your mouth, let our team know as soon as possible. To ask our team about oral cancer screenings or to schedule your next appointment at our office, call us today!