According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 42,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with throat and oral cancer every year. What is even more shocking is that the five-year survival rate is just over 64 percent. However, with regular cancer screenings your dentist may be able to catch oral or through cancer early enough for treatment.

During your dental checkup, your dentist will discuss your health history and examine your mouth and throat checking for signs of throat or oral cancer. The oral cancer screening includes a visual inspection along with palpation of your neck and throat. Your dentist may also conduct other types of testing during your oral cancer screening. When you see your dentist regularly, any changes can be caught early enough to treat.

In between your dental checkups, it is important to watch for symptoms that could be early signs of oral or throat cancer. If the following signs do not disappear after two weeks, it is imperative that you see your dentist for an Oral Cancer Screening.

Some symptoms to watch for could include:

An irritation or sore that will not go away

White or red patches in your mouth cavity

Numbness, pain, or tenderness on your lips or in your mouth

Lumps, rough spots or eroded areas

Problems when swallowing chewing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue

Changes in your bite

According to medical research, several factors could increase your chances of oral and throat cancer. People who drink or smoke excessively and are over 50 years old have a high risk of oral cancer. Any type of tobacco use, including pipes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco and Hookah pipe smoking will put you in the high risk category when it comes to oral and throat cancer. HPV, or the human papilloma sexually transmitted virus, has also been linked to oral cancer. If you have had a previous oral cancer diagnoses, or a history of sun exposure, you could be more susceptible to throat or oral cancer as well.

Regular dental checkups are not only important for your teeth and gums, but also vital for oral cancer screenings. Schedule your dental appointment today.   

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