Think Early Intervention April!

According to the American Dental Association there will be nearly 42,000 people diagnosed with oral and throat cancer in the United States this year. Many of these people will be diagnosed in advanced stages of oral cancer causing survival rates to be as short as 5 years. Although these numbers are dismal, there are steps you can take to ensure your mouth is healthy. And April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Like many other cancers, catching oral cancer in the beginning stages is vital to successful treatment of the disease. According to cancer.net, the 5-year survival rate is 83% for individuals that are diagnosed in the early stages. Yet only 31% of all cases are discovered at this stage. Regular check-ups at your dentist are important for improving those chances. 

During check-ups, your dentist will provide a visual screening of abnormalities that may indicate cancer or a risk of cancer. It is important that you share personal history to your dentist so that they can be aware of increased risks you may carry. Potential risk factors for oral cancer include: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and prolonged sun exposure to the lips (lip cancer). If your dentist determines you are at a higher risk, they may take the steps necessary for more frequent screenings or recommend that you see a specialist for additional testing. 

There are also ways in which you can lower your risk of developing oral cancer. A well-balanced diet and exercise and great, but limiting alcohol consumption and eliminating tobacco use are considered to be the most important for preventing these cancers. Spring is a fabulous time to focus on smiling. Think about your overall oral health and call us today to schedule an appointment so we can make sure you stay healthy.