Oral cancer screenings are a very important part of the dental visit for the patient. Through a comprehensive oral cancer screening, suspicious lesions are able to be detected earlier. The ability to diagnose lesions earlier when they are small is extremely important in being able to treat any issues prior to them becoming a major irreversible problem.
The oral cancer screening is painless and includes: checking for any swollen lymph nodes or salivary glands and inspecting the gums, cheeks, lips, roof of the mouth, under the tongue, and the sides of the tongue for any red or white color changes or variations in texture. Typically, gauze is used to hold the tongue so that the dentist can evaluate the high risk sites of the side and under the tongue.
Certain lifestyle choices can have a great impact on the health of oral tissues and your overall health in the mouth. Currently, there is a rise in oral cancer in younger individuals due to human papilloma virus (HPV). If you are a smoker or heavy drinker, make sure to get regular screenings when you visit the dentist since these are risk factors for oral cancer.