Oral Cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat), can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
You can take steps to prevent oral cancer. Learn the risk factors and adopt a lifestyle that protects your oral health. Visit your dentist regularly. Regular visits to your dentist can result in early detection of changes inside your mouth that could indicate disease
What will my Dentist/Hygienist look for during an Oral Cancer Screening?
Checking for signs of oral cancer is part of a regular dental checkup. Your dentist and Hygienist will examine your oral tissues by looking at your lips and inside your mouth. Your dentists will check your gingiva (gums) carefully, the inside of your cheeks and your tongue (the sides and underneath). Also, your dentist will look at the roof and floor of your mouth for the following signs;
- a red or white patch;
- a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal; a thick or hard spot or a lump;
- a roughened or crusted area.
Other signs of oral cancer include numbness, pain or tenderness, or a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down. Tell your dentist about any problems you have when chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw.