When was the last time you visited your dentist for an oral cancer screening session? While it may not be a necessity for every person in the world, cancer screenings are a precautionary measure that can help improve the quality of your life. As is, many people die of oral cancer, even though it can be treated when caught early. Therefore, do not demean the place of regular oral cancer screenings, especially when you suspect that you may have mouth cancer.

What Is Oral Cancer Screening?

It is a test done to detect any traces of mouth cancer or precancerous lesions in your mouth. In many cases, Monmouth junction dentists advocate for oral cancer screening as a proactive measure when they find it needful for you. It means that not everyone should be doing oral cancer screening. Therefore, should a dentist near you recommend a cancer screening session for your mouth, it could be that they find it necessary for sustaining a healthy mouth.

Who Is Most at Risk for Oral Cancer?

Studies have not yet shown any benefits of healthy people doing oral cancer screenings. The screenings are more effective for patients with a high risk of getting oral cancer. As such, some of the categories of people that are very likely to suffer from oral cancer include the following:

  1. Smokers – if you smoke a lot, you not only sabotage the health of your lungs but also that of your mouth. The case is the same for all tobacco users, whether through smoking, snuffing, or chewing it.
  2. Alcoholics – excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to your health, not only regarding liver disease but also regarding oral cancer. You may have to considerably regulate your consumption of alcohol to reduce the risk of cancer.
  3. Former cancer patients – if you have ever had a previous diagnosis of cancer, you are more likely to get oral cancer than any other typical patient.
  4. Due to genetics – if other members of your family have had cancer before, chances are high that you can get it too.

​What Are the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer?

You cannot be absolutely certain that you have mouth cancer unless after diagnosis and prognosis by a dental expert. However, several signs indicate the possibility of oral cancer, which should be enough for you to consider getting oral cancer screening. They include the following:

  1. Lumps, bumps, or swellings in parts of your mouth – they can be anywhere in your mouth, mostly the tongue and inner cheeks.
  2. Unexplained bleeding in any part of your mouth – such that cannot be attributed to an open wound, infected gums, or a dental injury.
  3. Mouth sores – they are usually persistent and do not heal even after two weeks. The sores also tend to bleed easily that is the typical case with regular canker sores.
  4. Difficulty chewing and swallowing food – either because you have a very sore throat, or the mouth sores cause significant discomfort. Usually, such symptoms can also cause you to experience pain in your teeth and jawbone even while they are not necessarily affected.
  5. Sudden numbness in an area in your mouth –while some patients experience pain, others have numbness that cannot be explained.

How Can You Prevent Oral Cancer?

The best way to prevent oral cancer is by intentionally caring for your oral and general health. Every little effort counts. Some of the tips for preventing oral cancer include the following:

  1. Quit smoking –along with all tobacco usage.
  2. Cut down on alcohol – it is even better to quit alcohol altogether if especially you are at a high risk of getting oral cancer.
  3. Regular oral screening – if you are among the high-risk groups for oral cancer, be sure to visit a family dentist near you regularly for oral cancer screening. The screenings can help you identify any anomalies in the cell structure of your oral cavity, identifying precancerous cells in the very early stages.
  4. Limit significant sun exposure – exposure to the sun for long hours will not only damage your skin but can also lead to lip cancer. If you must be in the sun, be under a shade and use sunscreen effectively.