Oral cancer screenings are among the many services provided by your Easton, MD, dentists, Dr. Irving Phillips, and Dr. Wade Dressler of Dental Choice. Screenings help you protect your health and ensure that you get prompt treatment if you're ever diagnosed with oral cancer.

Why oral cancer screenings are so important

About 53,000 Americans receive an oral cancer diagnosis every year, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Cancer affects the mouth or back of the throat and can spread to other parts of the body if it isn't detected early enough.

Risk factors for oral cancer

Anyone can develop oral cancer, but your risk may increase if:

  • You smoke or use tobacco.
  • You are a heavy drinker.
  • You're 55 or older.
  • You have an immune condition or disease or take a medication that affects your immune system.
  • You've had human papillomavirus (HPV) infection of your mouth or throat.
  • Your diet is unhealthy.
  • You've had significant sun exposure or don't use sunscreen.

Oral cancer screenings help you stay healthy

The signs and symptoms of oral cancer don't seem very alarming at first. Fortunately, your dentist knows how to identify potential cancer signs during oral screenings. The screenings are part of every checkup visit to the Easton dental office.

Did you know that a sore that never heals can be a sign of oral cancer? Although everyone gets canker sores from time to time, most of these sores begin to heal in a week or two. If you have a sore that hasn't gotten better after a few weeks, it's a good idea to ask your dentist to look at it.

Other symptoms of oral cancer can include:

  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Growths or spots on your lips
  • Lumps or bumps anywhere in your mouth, throat, or neck
  • Pain when chewing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Dentures that don't fit well
  • Numbness in your mouth or tongue
  • A constant sore throat

Should your dentist spot any of these signs, you may need a few tests to determine if you have oral cancer. Fortunately, early detection can help you ensure that you'll have the best possible outcome if you receive an oral cancer diagnosis. Keep in mind that these changes in your mouth don't automatically mean that you have cancer. Other issues could be to blame for your symptoms.

Oral cancer screenings help you stay healthy! Call your dentists in Easton, MD, Dr. Irving Phillips and Dr. Wade Dressler of Dental Choice, at (410) 822-4310 to schedule your appointment.