Oral Cancer Screenings: When was your last dental appointment?


April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month which makes it the perfect time to help spread awareness and encourage everyone to see their dentist twice a year for checkups. Let’s be proactive about our oral health and schedule our dental appointment today!

Learn more about April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

The Importance of Oral Health Cancer Screenings

Your dentist does much more than just clean your teeth at your dental exam. At the offices of Thomas L. Anderson, DDS and Associates, we check out your entire mouth and look for any signs/symptoms that something isn’t right. Therefore, we also screen for oral cancer during your checkups. Oral cancer is incredibly common. This year alone 54,0001 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Major Advantages of a Regular Dental Exam

When you go see your dentist for your dental exam, there are a few things that happen. Your dentist will look at your teeth, your gums, possibly do X-rays, look for cavities, and, finally, clean your teeth. This helps with multiple things, such as:

  • Plaque, tartar build-up. No matter how well we may brush and floss, bacteria can still spread in our mouths and create a build up of plaque that your dentist can professionally remove after detection. If this goes unnoticed, plaque build up can lead to bigger dental issues, such as gingivitis. Once gingivitis is detected, a more serious treatment plan will be needed. Getting rid of that plaque and bacteria early on will help avoid this, and early detection of gingivitis will help tremendously!
  • Oral cancer screenings and detection. When your dentist examines your mouth, they are looking for anything that may be out of the ordinary. When you see your dentist every 6 months, the risk of detecting early signs of oral cancer is high and that can have a major impact on your overall health and wellness.
  • Checking under the surface. Just like your dentist looks at the surface of your teeth for any warning signs, X-rays allow your dentist to take a closer look at the root of your teeth and your jaw. This is a more accurate way of detecting any swelling, cavities, or any other issues unseen to the naked eye.

Remember, making time in your schedule for regular dental exam may not be the most exciting thing you do, but it’s so integral to your overall health and well being. When you regularly visit your dentist twice a year, you are getting so many benefits and taking a big step towards bettering your teeth and your health. When you stop going in for regular, 6-month checkups that includes oral cancer screenings, you could end up dealing with major issues that cost you your peace of mind.

Read more about the Preventative Dental Care we offer our patients.

So, What Exactly is Oral Cancer?

According to the Mayo Clinic,

“Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth (oral cavity). Mouth cancer can occur on the lips, gum, tongue, the inner lining of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, and floor of the mouth (under the tongue). Cancer that occurs on the inside of the mouth is sometimes called oral cancer or oral cavity cancer.”

Oral cancer also often effects males more than females, and is currently affecting healthy, young, non-smoking people. Therefore, we can’t stress enough how important it is to get regular dental checkups that include an oral cancer screening, whether you think you may be at risk or not.

Learn More about Oral Cancer from Mayo Clinic HERE.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Our body often shows us warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. Here’s what to look for:

  • Weight loss
  • Numbness, pain/tenderness around the mouth or neck
  • White, red, or speckled patches in the mouth
  • Any crusty, eroded areas in or around the mouth, or lumps
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness, changes in voice
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing
  • Trouble speaking or moving your jaw or tongue
  • Changes in the way your teeth or dentures fit when closing mouth
  • Bleeding in the mouth

Learn More on Early Oral Cancer Detection, Diagnosis and More HERE.

Reduce the Risks 

To prevent the likelihood of developing oral cancer, there are some things you can do to reduce your risks!

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat healthy diet
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Maintain a health exercise schedule
  • Maintain good oral health habits and attend twice-a-year dental checkups

Help Your Mouth and Boost Your Immune System

While taking care of our mouth involves the obvious factors of routine oral exams incorporating oral cancer screenings and daily brushing and flossing, it also involves eating healthier overall. A well-rounded diet that is low in sugar will help keep your mouth healthy and reduce bacteria, plaque, boost your immune system and more. As the Mayo Clinic stated, your mouth is a window to your overall health. Everything in your body is connected. When one area suffers, the whole body suffers.

Read More about Protecting Your Oral Health from the Mayo Clinic.

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Oral Cancer Awareness: Early Detection is Critical

Early detection is critical in overcoming oral cancer of all types. Most of these diseases can be caught early with regular dental check-ups that include an oral cancer screening and self-directed oral examinations. Although there are factors that can increase your chance of developing oral cancer, it is a disease that can affect anyone. At the offices of Thomas L. Anderson, DDS and Associates, we’re ready to help you with your oral health needs during Oral Cancer Awareness Month or any other time. Call us today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Kansas City area.

Additional Resources:

Do You Have Questions About Achieving a Healthy Smile?

We can provide a thorough exam to assess the health of your smile and provide early detection for oral cancer and gum disease. At Thomas L. Anderson and Associates, we can help to ensure you maintain a lifetime of healthy smiles. We proudly offer our services to the Kansas City Metro and surrounding areas. Contact us today at one of our three convenient locations by calling 816-373-4440 to schedule your dental appointment or to learn more about our other services.

Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment and meet with our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.