You hear a lot about gum disease, but do you understand its consequences? Many people do not realize the effect conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis can have on their overall health. Without preventive efforts and proper treatment, you could experience severe damage to your gums and even bone loss. Diligent dental habits can help…
Having the Oral Cancer Discussion With Your Dentist
According to the American Cancer Society, up to 53,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer per year, and a little over 10,000 will die from the condition. It is important that patients discuss with their dentist regarding the risk of oral cancer and what they can do to minimize the risk.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is used to describe any cancer affecting the oral cavity, including the tongue, gums, cheeks, and roof of the mouth. Since the symptoms are usually painless, oral cancer is generally diagnosed and treated in its advanced stages. Therefore, going to the dentist is vital for early detection and reducing its severity.
Technology has made it possible to detect cancers in their early stages, which helps to improve survival rates to about 90 percent. During the routine dental appointments, the dentist will check the oral cavity to detect precancerous signs. Patients can also schedule appointments with the dentist for oral cancer screening and discussion.
Discussions about oral cancer
During the appointment, the dentist will discuss unique risk factors with the patient, such as a family history of oral cancer, lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking, and tobacco use that can affect the patient’s oral health and general well-being. Knowing the correlation between oral health and general health is vital for maintaining optimal well-being.
Anyone can have mouth cancer, whether they have their natural teeth or not. The chances of getting oral cancer are higher in people who smoke or drink heavily. People who combine both habits are at a greater risk. The cancer is also more likely in people above the age of 40 and is twice as diagnosed in men than women.
For younger people (below age 45) the condition is hardly from the usual risk of alcohol and tobacco use. This condition in younger people is often caused by exposure to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that is transmitted through oral sex. Therefore, it is crucial to note that some patients may exhibit oral cancer symptoms and not be under the category of people who have major risk factors. Yes, some may argue that being a young person, healthy, non-smoker, non-drinker can even be a risk factor that may prevent early detection. The dentist will pay special attention to these factors during oral cancer screening and discussion.
Is oral screening necessary?
New cases of oral cancer increase every year in the united states. Patients can decide whether or not they want to be screened for cancer, but the procedure is advisable. If the condition is detected in its early stages, the chances of successful treatment are higher and better. Many people visit the dentist only when they start to notice changes in their mouth. This is not advisable. Many are indeed scared about initiating the discussion with their dentist because they are scared of what the outcome will be. However, it is better to be safe.
Patients need to have an oral cancer discussion with their dentist. During the appointment, the dentist will suggest how to reduce the risks and maintain excellent oral health.
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