How Often Should You Have an Oral Cancer Screening?

June 15, 2024

Oral cancer screenings can help catch mouth cancer early. This is important because mouth cancer affects over 50,000 people each year, especially men. If you’re thinking about getting screened, you might wonder what happens, how it works, and how often you should do it.

About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can sneak up anywhere in or around your mouth. Because early signs might be hidden, dentists check various areas during a screening to catch it early. Expect your dentist to examine the following:

  • Inside your lips.
  • The roof of your mouth.
  • Inside both cheeks.
  • Both sides of your tongue.

If you have certain risk factors, your dentist might do extra checks. These risks include:

  • Smoking or using tobacco.
  • Having had cancer before.
  • Drinking alcohol every day.
  • Some blood diseases you inherit, like anemia.

These can also increase your risk of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Some mouth cancers do have warning signs, so be on the lookout if you’re at risk. These include:

  • Canker sores or other mouth lesions that do not heal and then return.
  • Discolored gums or tongue.
  • Pain while chewing or swallowing.

If you notice any of these, see a dentist for a screening as soon as possible.

What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer screening is quick and easy – it usually only takes about 5 minutes. Here’s what happens during the screening:

  • The dentist checks your mouth and gums for anything unusual, like red or white patches.
  • They also feel your face, mouth, and throat for lumps.
  • If they find something concerning, they might take a small sample for testing and send you to a specialist.

How Often Should I Have an Oral Cancer Screening with My Dentist?

An oral cancer screening is a fast and easy test your dentist performs to look for signs of cancer in your mouth. Most adults should have one oral cancer screening every year, along with their regular checkups and cleanings.

People over 40 have a higher risk of developing mouth cancer, especially if they smoke, drink heavily, or spend a lot of time in the sun. These habits irritate and damage mouth issues, increasing the risk of cancer development.

Regular screenings are crucial for early detection, which significantly improves treatment outcomes for mouth cancer. During your appointment, your dentist will discuss your risk factors, including any habits and overall health.

Based on this information, they’ll create a personalized screening plan for you. This allows them to identify any suspicious changes in your mouth at an early stage.

Final Thoughts

An oral cancer screening is a quick and easy way to find mouth cancer early. Catching this cancer early means it’s more treatable. Regular oral care and screenings help you stay healthy and protect your smile.

Thinking about getting an oral cancer screening? Bay Colony Dental can help. Call us at (281) 337-9000 to learn more.

Disclaimer – Use At Your Own Risk: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. We will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of the information from these blogs. All blogs are meant to be educational. We advise always consulting with a professional before attempting anything written in a blog. We can not guarantee all of the services that we write about in our blogs. Any attempt to perform anything written in a blog can result in serious injury or fatality without expert guidance and oversight.

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