Your dentist is your best friend when it comes to early detection of oral cancer

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Your dentist is your best friend when it comes to early detection of oral cancer

Early detection of oral cancer can result in much higher survival rates. This is another important reason to visit your dentist regularly.

Your dentist is your best friend when it comes to cavity and gum disease prevention, treatment and overall health and wellness. Did you know that your dentist also has the skills to detect changes in your mouth that could indicate oral cancer?

Although the number of cases or oral cancer is increasing, early detection of oral cancer can result in much higher survival rates. This is another important reason to visit your dentist regularly.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is a disease that results from abnormal cell growth in the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. The cause of oral cancer is still not known, but there are known risk factors that can lead to the development of oral cancer.

How can your dentist detect signs of oral cancer?

At each dental checkup, your dentist will inspect your tongue for changes, as well as any changes in the colour of your gums. Your dentist will also be looking for any lumps in your mouth or neck area.

dental care visit oral cancer prevention check up dentist

Regular dental care can help detect oral cancer earlier

College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario

Why is early detection of cancer important?

When oral cancer is detected earlier, the chances of survival for up to 5 years improves.

Sadly, it was estimated that 1,250 Canadians would die from oral cancer in 2016.

A 2016 report from the Canadian Cancer Society revealed that cancers of the mouth are increasing. More men are at risk of developing cancers of the mouth and throat, caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus).

In 2016 it was estimated that:

• 4,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with oral cancer.

• 1,250 Canadians will die from oral cancer.

• 3,200 men will be diagnosed with oral cancer and 840 will die from it.

• 1,450 women will be diagnosed with oral cancer and 390 will die from it.

Signs of Oral Cancer

• Sore throat

• Feeling a lump in the throat at all times

• A sore is present in the mouth or on lips or tongue for longer than 2 weeks

Who is most at risk of developing oral cancer?

People over the age of 45 are more at risk of developing oral cancer.

College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario

Risk Factors that can lead to oral cancer include:

• Using tobacco products – cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, and vapor cigarettes

• Heavy alcohol consumption

• Using tobacco and consuming alcohol together increases the risk

• Oral sex

• Prolonged sun exposure to the lips

• Poor diet

• Genetics

• Gender – men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women

• A history of leukoplakia (a thick whitish colour patch inside the mouth)

Your dentist has the expert skill and training to detect early signs of the disease and can help you understand your risks.

How can you prevent oral cancer?

• Oral cancer can be prevented by making lifestyle choices that include healthier eating

oral cancer prevention healthy diet fruit vegetables

A healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables helps prevent oral cancer

• Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet

• Make a point of getting regular dental care

• Maintain a proper daily dental hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing

• Reduce or quit smoking

• Reduce or avoid drinking alcoholic beverages

When oral cancer (also called oral cavity cancer), is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better.

Get regular health checkups and see your doctor if you have:

• a lump or thickened area in the mouth or on the lip

• a sore or patches in the mouth or on the lip that don’t heal

• white or dark red patches in the mouth or on the lips or tongue

• loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit

• bleeding or numbness in the mouth

• hoarseness or difficulty swallowing

• changes in taste or tongue sensation

• Unusual bleeding or persistent sores in the mouth that won’t heal.

• Lumps or growths in the throat or neck

ulceration oral cancer This 46 year old female presents with an irregular ulceration ventral lateral tongue, leukoplakia.   squamous cell carcinoma

Oral Cancer Foundation

Combined with regular brushing and flossing, bi-annual visits to the dentist will help you catch problems earlier.

To learn more about oral cancer visit the Canadian Cancer Society

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about your dental care. Please call us today at 519-885-5880 or visit Dentistry in Waterloo.