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The Importance of Regular Oral Cancer Screenings

The Importance of Regular Oral Cancer Screenings

As a trusted healthcare provider in St. Louis and Festus, MO, St. Louis South Oral Surgery continuously seeks to enlighten and educate health-conscious adults on the importance of regular oral cancer screenings. Famous for our expert oral surgery procedures, our commitment extends to ensuring our community is aware of the relevance of preventative care in oral health.

Understanding Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that begins in the mouth, also known as the oral cavity. This may include cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat. If not diagnosed and treated early, oral cancer can be severely life-threatening.

So, why should you have regular oral cancer screenings?

The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

Regular oral cancer screenings offer multiple benefits, including:

  • Early detection and treatment: Screenings can catch early signs of oral cancer, which can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment and survival.
  • Comprehensive examination: Screenings include visual and physical examinations that inspect the mouth and throat for any signs of precancerous conditions.
  • Minimal discomfort: The procedure is non-invasive, painless and takes very little time, usually conducted during routine dental visits.
  • Affordable: Most dental insurance policies cover oral cancer screening. In its absence, the cost is relatively low compared to the price of treating advanced stage oral cancer.

But the question arises, how often should you get screened, and what are the screening processes?

Screening Frequency and Process

It is widely recommended that adults should have an oral cancer screening at least once a year, especially if over the age of 40 or a habitual smoker. The process involves:

  • Visual examination: Your oral health professional checks the inside of your mouth to detect potential abnormalities such as sores and white or red patches.
  • Physical examination: Your provider will touch your head, cheeks, jaw, chin, and neck to check for any unusual nodules or swelling.

While our dedicated team at St. Louis South Oral Surgery continues to perform expert oral surgery procedures, we are equally concerned about preventive oral healthcare. Thus, the spotlight on the importance of regular oral cancer screenings.

Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

Knowing the risk factors associated with oral cancer can help determine the necessity of screening.

  • Tobacco use: Cigarette, cigar, pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers.
  • Alcohol: People who consume large amounts of alcohol are six times more likely to develop oral cancer.
  • Sun exposure: Lip cancer is often due to exposure to the sun.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): Infection with the sexually transmitted HPV, especially HPV-16, is a risk factor for some types of oral cancers.
  • Gender: Men are twice more likely to get oral cancer.
  • Age: Most oral cancers occur in people over 40.

Conclusion

Recognizing the importance of oral cancer screenings is your first step towards preventive oral care. The team at St. Louis South Oral Surgery is always ready to provide top-notch service to ensure your oral wellbeing. Regular visits, combined with a comprehensive oral cancer screening, significantly boost chances of early detection, making treatment more swift and effective.

Remember, your oral health is more than just good-looking teeth—it’s a crucial part of your overall wellness journey. Don’t delay; schedule your oral cancer screening today, and take control of your health.

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