When you think about your regular dental exams and cleanings, you are probably focused on your teeth. After all, so much preventative care seemingly centers around brushing, flossing, and checking for cavities. These are all incredibly important and shouldn’t be ignored, but screening for oral cancer is a crucial component of maintaining a healthy mouth and lifestyle, overall. When you go in for your cleaning and exam every six months, your dentist should inspect all parts of your mouth — not just your teeth. In today’s blog, your Houston, TX dentist discusses how oral cancer screenings factor into your exam and how they are a central component of preventative care.
What Do We Look For?
Oral cancer can affect anyone, so it is important for your dentist to thoroughly inspect your mouth every time you come in for an exam. They will look for sores, lesions, lumps, and any other abnormalities. Of course, if you have anything out of the ordinary, do not panic — your dentist will keep you informed every step of the way. As mentioned, your oral health care provider should screen you every six months when you come in for your check-up, but you should still be cognizant of any potential symptoms. These include persistent throat pain, earaches, a change in your voice, sudden weight loss, or any other unexplained issues.
Preventive Care Is Essential
Regularly scheduled checkups and cleanings are some of the most important things you can do to maintain good oral health. Not only do they give your dentist the opportunity to screen for oral cancer, but they also allow them to look for other, less severe issues. When your teeth are professionally cleaned, a hygienist will remove plaque and tartar, which helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing at home certainly help minimize bacterial growth, but a professional cleaning is essential as well. Exams are crucial for similar reasons; they allow your dentist to catch issues like gum disease, cavities, and tooth trauma — in addition to oral cancer — before they can grow into more serious problems.
Stay Healthy Overall
Minimizing risky behaviors, in general, can also contribute to maintaining a healthy mouth. Smoking and consuming alcohol are detrimental to your oral health and can exacerbate growing issues. Moreover, keeping a healthy, balanced diet is a major component of preventative care and has major benefits for your teeth and gums.
Do You Have Questions About Oral Cancer Screenings?
Please do not hesitate to contact Sue Ellen Richardson, DDS in Houston, TX at 713-796-9600 to schedule your appointment today. You can also visit us at The University Center Tower 7000 Fannin Street, Suite 1660 Houston, TX 77030. Oral cancer is serious and can affect anyone, so screening for it should be a part of your exams every six months.