The Role of Dentists in Oral Cancer Detection and Prevention

The Role of Dentists in Oral Cancer Detection and Prevention

May 1, 2023

What is Oral Cancer?

It is a type of cancer that develops in the oral cavity. It can occur in any part of the oral cavity, including the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, and roof or floor of the mouth.

Oral cancer typically develops from abnormal cells that grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor or lesion in the mouth. It is classified as squamous cell carcinoma, meaning it arises from the flat cells lining the mouth’s surface.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Dentists in Fort Myers have identified many risk factors that heighten the probability of suffering oral cancer. They include:

  1. Tobacco use in any state or form, including smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco.
  2. Heavy alcohol consumption, particularly when combined with tobacco use.
  3. A long-term diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in processed foods
  4. Excessive exposure to the sun without proper protection increases the risk of lip cancer.
  5. Age – mouth cancer is more common in people over 40, especially men.
  6. Some genetic mutations may increase the risk of developing oral cancer.
  7. Exposure to viruses, such as certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Symptoms of Oral Cancer Can Include:

Oral cancer can present with various symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Some of them include:

  1. Sores or ulcers that do not heal within two weeks
  2. Red or white patches on the soft tissues like the tongue, gums, or other areas of the mouth
  3. Swelling, lumps, or tumors in various oral tissues
  4. Numbness or pain in the mouth or lips
  5. Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  6. Hoarseness or persistent sore throat
  7. Unexplained ear pain
  8. Loose teeth or ill-fitting dentures
  9. Changes in speech or voice
  10. Unexplained weight loss

Although these symptoms are prevalent in oral cancer, they can also be caused by other conditions. Therefore, you need an oral cancer screening in Fort Myers to know whether these symptoms are due to oral cancer or a different dental problem.

The Role of Dentists in Oral Cancer Detection

Dentists at Freedom Dental Ft. Myers play a crucial role in the early detection of oral cancer. Typically, they perform cancer screenings as part of a routine dental exam to look for signs of cancer or pre-cancerous conditions in the mouth.

During an oral cancer screening near you, your dentist will visually examine the different oral features, including the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, and throat, for any abnormalities such as lesions, bumps, or discoloration. The dentist may use specialized equipment like a light or a dye to help identify any areas of concern that may not be visible to the naked eye.

The Role of Dentists in Oral Cancer Prevention

Dentists are pivotal in the prevention of oral cancer. They are often the medical experts that will educate their patients on the risk factors for oral cancer, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and advise them on ways to reduce their risk.

More importantly, dentists perform thorough oral examinations to identify any potentially precancerous lesions or conditions. These tests must be done by a dentist near you who can tell the difference between gum disease and precancerous conditions. Besides, only then can a dentist point out if you are a high-risk patient for oral cancer and recommend appropriate treatments and preventive measures.

In addition, dentists will encourage you to maintain good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental checkups. It can help to identify any changes in the mouth that may indicate oral cancer.

Why Regular Dental Visits Are Essential for Oral Cancer Prevention

Technically, the only way to prevent something is by knowing how it occurs and the extent of potential damage to your health. The primary reason why regular dental visits are essential for oral cancer prevention is that dentists can detect and diagnose oral cancer in its early stages before it has a chance to spread to other parts of the body.

During a routine dental checkup, Dr. Joseph Vanderbosch will look for any signs of abnormal tissue or lesions indicative of oral cancer. If he detects anything suspicious, he will recommend further testing, such as a biopsy, to determine whether or not cancer is present. Early detection is key to the successful treatment of oral cancer, and regular dental visits increase the chances of catching the disease in its early stages.

Further, do not underestimate the place of information regarding oral cancer. Dentists can provide information about oral cancer prevention, including recommendations for lifestyle changes.

Our emergency dentist at Freedom Dental of Fort Myers' office provides all general and cosmetic dental services near you in Fort Myers and residents of the following neighborhoods:

Request an Appointment with a Dentist in Fort Myers