When Do I Need to Get an Oral Cancer Screening?

woman getting an oral cancer screening at the dentist

Oral cancer is scary to think about, but with regular screenings at the dentist’s office, signs and symptoms can be caught early and treated. When do you need to get oral cancer screenings?

How Often Should You Get Oral Cancer Screenings?

Dentists and the Oral Cancer Foundation recommend getting oral cancer screenings starting around age 18, although if you start using tobacco products before then, you should get screenings sooner. We perform oral cancer screenings as part of a routine exam. Most people only need one screening per year.

Who Needs Oral Cancer Screenings?

Everyone should get oral cancer screenings, but if you’re at a higher risk for oral cancer, you may need more than one screening every year. According to research, men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer, while your risk also increases with frequent sun exposure, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption. Genetics, poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, and age also affect your risk.

What Are the Signs of Oral Cancer?

Only a professional can diagnose you with oral cancer, but if you notice certain symptoms, you should get a screening. Watch out for sores that don’t heal or keep returning, rough patches in your mouth, and lumps. Pain in your mouth, throat, and ears, as well as gum and mouth discoloration, are also causes for concern. What happens if the dentist finds something? Further tests will determine if you have oral cancer or if there’s something else going on with your oral health.

Oral Cancer Screenings at Ashley Laird, DDS in Tyler, Texas

Oral cancer screenings let us catch concerning signs early and determine if you need treatment. When diagnosed in its early stages, oral cancer is usually very curable. If you have questions about oral cancer or want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Laird, please contact us today!

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