Dental visits are about more than simply your teeth. Your oral health has a huge impact on the rest of your body. Poor oral health is linked to other systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, not to mention that oral cancer can have a huge impact on your life if it’s not caught. As April is Oral Health Month, your Skokie dentist will be breaking down why oral cancer screenings are an important part of each dental visit. <
Detecting Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can be very hard to see at first. In its earliest stages, there are few signs that are apparent to the naked eye. Oral cancer can grow on any part of your mouth, including your tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips. It can be life-threatening if not diagnosed in time. Dentists are specially trained to look for oral cancers and will be able to determine if something appears to be off. Additionally, some dentists have special tools to help spot signs that would not otherwise be visible.
Your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening during every exam, so it’s important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure that you stay in good health.
Who is at Risk?
While there are many factors that determine your risk of developing oral cancer, such as genetics and family history, some everyday behaviors can put you at an increased risk. Some of these risk factors include:
- Smoking: The link between smoking and cancer has been well-established. As you inhale the smoke, you’re putting your mouth, throat, and lungs are a higher risk of developing the disease.
- Chewing Tobacco: Much like cigarettes, the contact that chewing tobacco makes with your mouth can cause cancer of the lips, cheeks, tongue, gums, and throat. It is also linked to the development of periodontal disease.
- Excessive Drinking: The use of alcohol has also been tied to oral cancer. By limiting your alcohol intake, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Left unchecked, oral cancer can be a scary thing. However,
through regular visits to your dentist as well as leading a healthy lifestyle,
you are putting yourself in a position to catch it early and keep your health.
During this Oral Health Month, reach out and thank a dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Jon Davidson enjoys helping his patients to lead healthy lives and have smiles that they can enjoy for decades to come. His comprehensive approach to dentistry focuses on the health of the whole person, not just their teeth. He went to dental school at the University of Detroit Mercy and has committed himself to continuing his education to provide the very best dentistry he can. If you’d like to learn more about how he and the team at Dental Dynamics focus on your overall health, reach out via email or over the phone at 224-601-8075.