We provide you with care during your dental checkups and take the opportunity to review your smile, as well as your overall health. Many patients are surprised to find out about the large amount of surface area that lines the mouth. This oral lining usually repairs itself quickly but can be susceptible to changes that call for further monitoring and evaluation. This is where oral cancer screening comes into play.
Anyone can be stricken with oral cancer. However, those at higher risk should arrange frequent checkups with their dentists. Individuals who are more likely to develop oral cancer include:
- Tobacco Users – Smokers have a higher risk of developing oral cancer than non-smokers or non-tobacco users. Up to 3,000 chemicals can be found in tobacco, some of which have also been found in embalming fluids and pesticides.
- Alcohol Abusers – People who consume alcohol in large quantities are at a risk of developing mouth cancer stemming from excessive alcohol exposure to their gums.
- Sun Bathers – While you can appreciate some Vitamin D from basking in sunlight from time to time, indiscriminate exposure without protection is harmful to you. Left unchecked, this can lead to developing cancer on your lips.
- Betel Nut Chewers – While chewing betel nut is common practice for many cultures, this carcinogen compromises your overall oral health.
- People who engage in oral sex – Infection from a certain strain of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to oral cancer.
- People with a history of oral cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that out of 30,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosis, about 7,000 deaths result in oral cancer annually. Furthermore, it is difficult to detect cellular changes that take place below the surface until they advance to a critical stage. However, early detection of oral cancer and immediate follow up treatment can significantly increase the possibility of a positive outcome. This is why a regular checkup is very essential. If you suspect unusual changes in your mouth tissue, contact your dentist. You will likely undergo a biopsy and microscopic analysis in a lab.
Non-cancerous changes from oral warts, autoimmune lesions, and other causes can also develop in the tissues of your mouth. Distinguishing the differences may lead you to wonder, “How can I conduct an oral cancer screening near me?” For oral cancer screening treatment Houston, TX, Dr. Mai’s background in oral pathology qualifies her to determine whether any abnormalities require continued monitoring or removal.
We recognize the strong addictive nature of tobacco on a large number of health-conscious individuals. If you are interested and determined to quit smoking, we are honored to be your partner and support you in your efforts. Have a discussion with your local hygienist or Dr. Mai for effective strategies and resources to help end your smoking habits.