Visit Your Casselman Dental Clinic for Oral Cancer Screenings
While it may not be discussed as often as other illnesses or cancers, oral cancer affects thousands of Canadians every year. Due to the lack of awareness and to the tardy detection of oral cancer symptoms, the mortality rate of oral cancer is surprisingly high.
It is for this reason that your Casselman dental clinic offers oral cancer screenings. Family dentistry professionals encourage regular screenings to detect oral cancer symptoms as early as possible. As with all cancers, early detection is critical to increasing the chance of recovery.
Indeed, your family dentistry team is the first line of defense against oral cancer as they are trained to notice all changes with their patient’s oral health, hence allowing them to take notice of oral cancer symptoms at the earliest stages.
A local family dentistry clinic can offer quick and painless treatments to help maintain good oral health which is also crucial to decreasing the risk of developing cancerous cells in the mouth. A visit to the Casselman dental clinic can also be beneficial to learn more about the causes and other preventative measures to take against oral cancer.
Understanding Oral Cancer
Oral cancer includes all cancers that affect the oral cavity. While it begins in the mouth, if left untreated it can spread to the lymph nodes and neck. As is the case with most cancers, treatment becomes more difficult as the illness progresses.
Since it begins in the mouth, the earliest symptoms will most likely affect the following areas:
- Tongue and palate;
- Lining of the lips;
- Lining of the cheeks;
- The floor of the mouth;
- The palate ; and,
- The area behind wisdom teeth.
In most instances, oral cancer begins on the lips, the floor of the mouth, and the sides of the tongue.
How Does Oral Cancer Start?
The cells of the mouth are usually quite resistant to damage, but with repeated injury or continuous contact with harmful chemicals and bacteria, cancer can begin to grow in sores which can make oral cancer intensely painful.
Repeated injury and contact with harmful chemicals can include the following incidences: friction, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, smoking, and viruses. A weakened immune system may also contribute to the development of pre-cancerous and cancerous cells.
What Are the Symptoms to Look Out For?
The Casselman dental clinic’s professionals urge patients to look out for the following symptoms of oral cancer, especially if symptoms persist for a period of two weeks or more:
- An unusual and seemingly permanent lump on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat;
- A sore throat or the persistent feeling that the throat is stuffy or congested;
- Difficulty or pain chewing and/or swallowing;
- A sore in the mouth or on the lip that doesn’t heal after a few days;
- A red or white patch on the tongue, gums, lining of the lips, cheeks, or mouth;
- Unusual pain, bleeding, or numbness in the mouth;
- A swollen jaw that might cause dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable;
- A change in voice—i.e. hoarse or raspy; and
- Pain in the ear.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Tobacco use—especially smoking cigarettes—is the leading and most preventable cause of oral cancer. Tobacco use also includes chewing tobacco, smoking cigars, and smoking tobacco out of pipes.
Heavy alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of developing oral cancer and is even more perilous if combined with regular smoking.
While heavy alcohol and tobacco consumption are risk factors for various cancers, they are the leading risk factors for developing oral cancer due to their direct contact with the mouth.
Certain viruses have a greatly negative impact on the immune system. Certain medications used to treat viruses can have a negative impact as well. It is best to discuss preventative measures with your physician as well as your dentist at the Casselman dental clinic if this applies to you.
Viruses such as HPV are considered high-risk factors, but health professionals can manage these illnesses with surprising efficiency if patients are proactive and visit their family dental clinic regularly.
Much like viruses, a poor diet can weaken the immune system and can make the effects of tobacco or alcohol more problematic.
Is it Possible to Prevent Oral Cancer?
As with all other cancers, it is important to make proactive choices to maintain a good health. By doing so, it is possible to better prevent the development of cancerous cells.
Avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol
Since smoking is the leading risk factor for oral cancer, to quit smoking is a definitive step towards oral cancer prevention. Talk to your doctor or dentist about smoking cessation programs and products that help to quit. Likewise, avoid heavy drinking.
Live a Healthy, Balanced Lifestyle
A balanced diet and regular exercise allow for the body to develop a strong immune system. Avoid unnecessary stress and sleep a sufficient number of hours every night to be even more efficient in preventing the development of illnesses including oral cancer.
To prevent oral cancer, it is also necessary to maintain good oral health. This means brushing teeth twice a day, flossing regularly, using antiseptic mouthwash and visiting your family dentistry clinic for regular professional dental cleanings.
Visit Your Family Dentistry Office for Oral Cancer Screenings
By visiting the Casselman dental clinic, patients can ensure that they have a professional following the progression of their oral and dental health. Indeed, oral cancer can be fatal if not detected and treated early, and so it is important to have regular checkups.
Be Aware of Any Changes in Your Mouth
Using the list provided above, patients should take notice of any oral cancer symptoms that persist for two weeks. If there is confusion or anguish over any of the symptoms, it is best to consult a dentist as soon as possible. With prevention and early detection, patients with oral cancer can have a successful treatment and recovery.
Dr. Hanan Taraf is an experienced dentist. Her first practice was in Morocco, where she was born and raised. In 2005, she came to Canada, studying at the Université de Montréal where she earned her Canadian DMD Degree, graduating in June of 2010. She’s never stopped learning, however; Dr. Taraf’s dedication to continuing education led her to take further studies so she could offer oral sedation to ensure even the most anxious patients are able to enjoy stress-free treatment. Dr. Taraf is also a graduate from the University of Toronto’s Mini Implant Residency with associate professor Dr. Mark Lin.