Abnormal cell growth can take place anywhere in the mouth.
Oral cancer is a disease that occurs when abnormal cell growth takes place anywhere in/on the mouth or throat. Unfortunately, oral cancer is on the rise – and today, risk factors go beyond being a heavy tobacco user.
Every time you visit the dentist for a bi-yearly check-up, the dentist performs a brief oral cancer screening. This involves examining the lips, tongue, inside of the mouth and throat for any suspicious lesions or lumps. You may not even know your dentist is performing this screening because it’s so quick and painless, but they are!
Risk factors of oral cancer include:
- A habit of using tobacco products (chewing tobacco, smoking)
- Heavy alcohol consumption, especially when combined with tobacco use
- Unprotected oral sex (contracting certain strains of the HPV virus)
- Repeated unprotected exposure to the sun
- Being over the age of 45
It’s best not to worry about getting oral cancer, but to take the preventive measures against it instead. The good news is, the earlier oral cancer is detected in a patient, the better the prognosis for successful treatment and recovery. In fact, early diagnosis of oral cancer is critical to save lives.
Be proactive: your smile (and life) depends on it!
When was the last time you’ve been screened for oral cancer, or been in for a routine check-up and cleaning? If it’s been a while, book an oral cancer screening with our friendly Toronto dentist today.