Posted on 9/20/2016 by Tessa Smith-Greisch
|Checking yourself regularly for oral cancer is arguably just as important for your oral health as routine dental checkups. By checking your oral cavity yourself between visits you can help to protect yourself from the harmful effects of undetected oral cancer.
What Am I Looking For?When checking your mouth for oral cancer you should take care to examine the entire mouth thoroughly. This includes your lips and the entire inside of your mouth.
You should take care to check your gingivae (gums), your tongue (including under your tongue and along the sides) and also the entire surface area of the inside of your cheeks. During your examination you should also take care to inspect the roof of your mouth.
During your inspection of the oral cavity you are looking for red, white or peach patches; sores that bleed easily or that do not appear to be healing properly; any unexplained pain or tenderness; numbness; and a change in the way that your teeth fit together whenever you bite down. If you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms you should contact your dentist immediately for further examination.
Additionally, if you are experiencing issues while swallowing, chewing, speaking or when moving your jaw, you should contact your dental provider immediately.
Risk Factors of Oral CancerOral cancer most commonly develops in those individuals who smoke tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars or pipes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also claim that drinking heavily also increases one's risk for developing oral cancer. That is for men an average of two drinks per day and an average of one drink per day for women.
Prolonged or repeated unprotected exposure to the sun can also cause oral cancer of the lips. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent states that those individuals with some forms of the human papillomavirus are also at an increased risk for developing oral cancer.
Once you have oral cancer once you are more prone to getting it again. If you notice changes or anything suspicious during your oral cancer self-examinations, contact our office immediately.