When you visit our dental practice in Salisbury for your routine check-up, your Sarum dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination, paying close attention to any indications of abnormal changes or anomalies in your dentition. But don’t be alarmed, oral cancer screening is a normal part of your general check-up and is a preventative measure to safeguard your future oral health.
Why do we conduct oral cancer screenings?
Your Salisbury dentist is keen to note any abnormal changes in your gum tissue and dentition because early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of this disease are treatable!
What happens during an oral cancer screening?
During your check-up, the dentist will carefully examine your neck, mouth and throat for any abnormal signs that might indicate that further testing is needed. This examination is non-invasive, and you will feel no pain as the dentist searches for any signs of:
- Unusual lumps, discolouration or changes in texture of the soft tissue
- Hardening or swelling of the lymph nodes
- Sore throat and hoarse voice
‘I don’t smoke – do I need an oral cancer screening?’
Even if you don’t smoke, it’s important to have regular check-ups as everyone is susceptible to this disease. However, it is true that there are some groups of people who are at a greater risk level compared to others. These include:
Age – Most mouth cancer cases present in older adults who are between 50-74 years of age; however, younger people (those aged under 55) can also develop this disease and make up approximately 20% of all oral cancer cases.
Alcohol – Alcohol is carcinogenic and when consumed regularly and in significant amounts, can raise the risk of developing oral cancer in the throat, mouth, esophagus and voice box.
Tobacco – Smoking cigarettes, pipes or cigars increases your chance of developing oral cancer. In fact, more than 60% of mouth and oropharyngeal cancers in the UK are caused by smoking. Click here to find out how to quit smoking for good.
HPV – the human papilloma virus (HPV) affects the skin and moist membranes inside the body, such as the mouth and throat. There is evidence in some rare cancer that specific strains of HPV can trigger abnormal tissue growth inside the mouth that can subsequently trigger oral cancer.
Sunlight and sunbeds – Exposure to too much UV radiation from the sun or even regular use of sunbeds can cause skin cancer to develop on the head, neck and lips as these areas of often most visible. Staying away from tanning beds and using high-strength SPF on sunny days will help to safeguard your skin.