Oral cancer screenings are a very important part of the dental visit for the patient. It is a visual examination performed by the dentist to check for any signs of cancer or precancerous lesions. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, floor of the mouth, and throat. The goal is to detect lesions when they are easiest to remove and more likely to be cured.
There are many factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer. These include:
- Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco
- Heavy alcohol use
- History of oral cancer
- High sun exposure which can increase chances of lip cancer
Although oral cancer screenings cannot detect all mouth cancers, it is important to have the dentist examine you at each of your cleaning appointments.