National Mouth Cancer Awareness Month
While November marks the beginning of the holiday season, there’s another reason why it’s an important time of the year. November is Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, a gentle reminder to check in on our oral health and consider precautions like Oral DNA Testing which can reduce our risk of disease. Oral cancer screening is a great way to practice self-care and ensure that our bodies are healthy and ready for the busy holiday season. As a Dentist in Lansing, Michigan I believe wholeheartedly in the importance of this vital oral health procedure and the life-saving benefits of Oral DNA Testing.
Mouth Cancer: Definition & Symptoms
“Mouth cancer” is a term used to refer to cancer that develops in any part of the oral cavity, which includes the lips, gum, tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, and floor of the mouth (area under your tongue). While symptoms of mouth cancer may vary from one individual to the next, the most common include:
• Loose teeth
• Persistent bad breath
• Pain in your mouth, neck, face, or ears
• Sores, dry spots, or white or red spots in your mouth
• Bleeding from your mouth
• Presence of a lump on your lips or in your neck, mouth, or throat
• Sudden or inexplicable weight loss
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important that you schedule an appointment at my office right away. I can investigate the cause of your symptoms and perform an Oral DNA Test to identify the presence of pathogenic bacteria. That way, we can make a plan and get you started with treatment as soon as possible.
Is Oral Cancer Common?
Oral cancer accounts for approximately 3% of all cases of cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year. The American Cancer Society’s estimate for total oral cancer cases in the U.S. in 2023 is about 54,540 new cases.
Factors that Increase Risk
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing cancer such as your:
• Age (most people with oral cancer are over 40 years old)
• Tobacco or alcohol use
• HPV infection
• Impaired immune system
• Sun exposure
• Diet and weight
• Genetic factors
The Link Between Oral Health & Overall Health
The link between oral health and overall well-being, specifically in the context of oral cancer, is profound. Oral cancer, while initially confined to the mouth, can spread and affect other organs and tissues, making it a systemic health concern. It can impact your diet and weight, weaken your immune system, and contribute to psychological distress. Lifestyle factors like tobacco and alcohol use further amplify the risks. Good oral hygiene, early detection, and comprehensive care are essential to minimize the systemic impact of oral cancer and improve patients’ overall health and quality of life.
Diagnosing Oral Cancer in Early Stages
Treatment for oral cancer is most successful when the disease is identified early on before it progresses. One approach that I have found incredibly useful for identifying and treating oral health diseases like cancer is Oral DNA Testing. Lansing patients can partake in this procedure on a regular basis as part of their routine oral health exam, eliminating the need for additional dental appointments.
Oral DNA Testing & Antimicrobial Therapy
Oral DNA Testing allows us to identify the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the mouth in a low-cost, non-invasive manner. All that we have to do is take a sample of your saliva. This sample is sent to an OralDNA lab to assess your bacteria profile. The results are then sent back to me and my team so that we can review them and look for indicators of oral disease.
If pathogenic bacteria are present, we can target them with antimicrobial therapies. We can also perform a deep cleaning, which includes dental debridement and scaling, to ensure thorough elimination of the bacteria so that your body can heal and make a full recovery.
How to Be Proactive About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is a serious issue, but the good news is that there are ways you can be proactive and protect your dental health. Practice good oral hygiene habits, visit my office in Lansing regularly for oral health exams, avoid tobacco, and limit alcohol use. You should also try to eat a balanced diet, use sun protection, consider HPV vaccination, and stay informed about matters affecting your oral health.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Bechtel Dentistry is committed to the health, comfort, and safety of our patients. As leaders in our field, we are always investing in new technology, industry advancements, and ongoing education to ensure that our patients receive the very best care possible. When was the last time you visited your dentist for an oral cancer screening? I encourage you to contact my office to book an appointment for a comprehensive oral health exam. We are always accepting new and returning dental patients from Lansing, Holt, Okemos, Mason, Grand Ledge, Dewitt, Haslett, Williamston, St. Johns, Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, East Lansing, and Potterville.Contact our office today at 517-882-7132 to schedule your oral cancer screening and start your journey to better wellness. We strive to provide the highest level of care with our incredible holistic approach for the comprehensive treatment you need. We’re looking forward to working with you! Call today to schedule an appointment or speak to a member of our team!