Oral cancer is estimated to kill one American an hour. That’s a lot of people dying from cancer, especially if you or someone you know has been affected by this dangerous disease. Oral cancer death rates are high due to the difficulty of diagnosing it, making the condition even more distressing!
At Precise Dental Of Houston we’ve made advanced oral cancer screening a part of our jobs. The technology now exists to make diagnosing oral cancer easier than ever and we’re proud to make it available to you at our Houston dentist office!
Risk Factors For Oral Cancer
Because it can be so invisible during its treatable stages oral cancer is important to understand. There are a variety of risk factors, some out of your control, that can lead to this devastating disease.
The majority of patients diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers and heavy drinkers over the age of 40. Most patients who are diagnosed with oral cancer have been smokers or heavy drinkers for years, leading to a buildup of toxic chemicals that leads to their condition.
It isn’t just smoking that can increase your risk factor for oral cancer. Any sort of tobacco use has been shown to result in an increased risk. We highly encourage smokers, dippers, and other tobacco users to consider quitting – oral cancer is devastating when it gets ahold of you!
There are also other factors that aren’t related to smoking and drinking. The human papillomavirus-16 (HPV16) has been shown to greatly increase the risks of oral cancers. This sexually transmitted disease is also responsible for increased risk of cervical cancer and other forms of cancer as well. It can be detected in the blood so be sure that you’re seeing a medical professional regularly if you aren’t sure of your chances of infection!
There’s also the risk of sun exposure causing oral cancer! This is more common on the lips but it can spread to the insides of your mouth. Take care spending too much time in the sun and be sure to wear sunscreen and a sunscreen lip balm. Both are an important part of protecting yourself from the cancer risks of excess UV exposure!
Detecting Oral Cancer: What We Can Do
It’s important to be screened for cancer regularly, especially as you age! The dangers of oral cancer have previously lied in its invisibility but at Precise Dental Of Houston we have that beat. Using a special inspecting light we can detect oral cancer far before it would be visible to the naked eye!
When we pass this special light over the insides of your mouth we’ll notice one of two things: either a consistent darker color indicating healthy tissue or a light color that tells us you might be experiencing the beginning stages of oral cancer. In many cases our scan can even pick up precancerous cells!
This painless and quick procedure will be performed once a year during your normal dental exams. It’s an invaluable part of your appointment, allowing us to catch a dangerous medical condition before it becomes deadly!
Don’t Wait For An Appointment!
If you’re a smoker or heavy drinker you should be checked for oral cancer more often. If you haven’t been to see us at Precise Dental Of Houston in a while there’s no better time than now!