April has been designated as National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and one of the goals of this celebration is to encourage the regular attendance of preventive care visits to your dentist in Clintonville. If these appointments seem like a waste of time, then read on to learn how they could possibly save your life. Also, discover ways to prevent the development and spread of oral cancer!
What Happens at Preventive Care Visits?
The typical preventive care visit includes a cleaning and examination. The following explains what each has to offer:
- Cleaning – A dental hygienist will get the process started by thoroughly cleaning your teeth. The purpose is to remove harmful plaque and tartar that could not only cause tooth and gum decay, but it could also contribute to the development of oral cancer.
- Examination – Then, you’ll undergo an examination to allow the hygienist to identify any signs of tooth or gum decay. Therefore, if needed, steps can be taken to fully restore your oral health before any greater problems arise.
Still, these visits have even more to offer.
What is an Oral Cancer Screening?
Following the cleaning and examination provided by the dental hygienist, your dentist will then conduct an oral cancer screening, which is divided into two parts – a visual and physical examination. This is how each step is conducted.
The screening includes an assessment of your face, neck, lips, the inside of your nose and your oral cavity. The dentist will also be looking for the typical warning signs of asymmetries, swellings, bumps, white or red patches and ulcerations.
Leaving nothing to chance, your dentist will then perform a hands-on assessment, which includes probing your head and cheeks, around the jaw, under the chin and the inside of the mouth to feel for any unusual growths.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
It’s projected that as many as 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Alarmingly, roughly 10,000 of the cases are forecasted to end fatally.
The good news, though, is that with early detection and treatment, the chances of living five or more years after diagnosis is 75%. However, if the disease is allowed to fester and grow, the survival rate falls to around 20%.
What You Can Do at Home
When it comes to oral cancer prevention, your primary focus should be to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria. One way to achieve this is to practice consistent and proper oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing your teeth at least two times a day. You should also limit your consumption of foods and beverages that are high in sugar.
The moral to the story, then, is that to protect yourself from oral cancer, you’ll need to expend a little time, attention and effort by following the guidelines you’ve learned here. Your oral and overall health are well worth it!
About the Author
Since earning his dental degree from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Dr. Eric Buck has been steadfast in his efforts to encourage patients to take a proactive approach to their oral health. Thus, he helps them maximize their dental coverage by receiving preventive care, which includes a full oral cancer screening. Dr. Buck enhances oral health at Creative Smiles, and he can be reached for more information through his website.