April is Oral Cancer Awareness month. This is the month to take time to understand what oral cancer is and how to reduce risks. While keeping your smile looking good is important, this is achieved through keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Brushing and flossing is important to keeping your oral health in tip-top shape, but so is your biannual checkup.
Your teeth are professionally cleaned, and your gums, tongue, and other soft tissues are checked for any irregularities that might indicate a problem. Oral cancer screenings are part of your biannual checkup because early diagnosis is the best way to treat cancerous lesions. Oral cancer’s survival rate is very high when treated in its early stages.
Genetics and gender certainly play a role in who is more susceptible to a higher risk category. Men are more likely than women to get oral cancer, but lifestyle choices can greatly increase your risks. The two largest lifestyle risk factors are tobacco and alcohol use. Another leading cause of oral cancer is the human papilloma virus (HPV). A vaccine is now available for children, which may help reduce the risk for certain cancers during their lifetime.
Ways to lower your risks of oral cancer include increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as lowering, or eliminating, your intake of alcohol and tobacco products. We live during a time where cultural awareness makes living a healthier life possible.
Another thing you can do is be aware of any changes in your mouth that occur between checkups. Do you have lumps or sores that aren’t healing? If so, schedule an appointment as soon as possible to be checked out.
Oral Cancer Screening
Dr. Kern and her team screen all patients for oral cancer during regular checkups. Your mouth, jaw, neck, and head are examined. Using LED technology, signs of oral cancer can be detected with the VELScope. If anything suspect is found, a brush biopsy will be conducted. This will inform Dr. Kern if another biopsy is needed.
If you have questions about oral cancer or how to reduce your risks, contact the team at Jeanette Kern DDS today at 831-372-8011 at Dr. Kern’s office. Dr. Kern’s dental office is conveniently located at 660 Camino Aguajito #201 in Monterey, CA 93940.