You’ve probably heard about HPV, and how it can cause medical conditions like cervical cancer. Did you know though, that HPV could also cause oral cancer? That’s right. It’s not just alcohol or tobacco use that places a person at risk to develop oral cancers; the human papilloma virus can as well.
Routine oral cancer screenings are extremely important, even in adults that are much younger than traditional oral cancer patients or have never used tobacco products. Precancerous tissues that are identified early on will improve the success of treatments. Unfortunately most people do not realize they have oral cancer until the symptoms are so progressed that their condition is difficult to effectively treat in non-invasive measures.
Abnormal tissues like white or red lesions that do not heal within 2 weeks, or appear different on one side of the mouth than the other side, then you should have it checked by your dentist. The floor of the mouth, sides and bottom of the tongue, and the soft palate are the areas most likely to develop oral cancers.
At your routine dental visit, your dentist performs an oral cancer screening as part of your bi-annual examination. If a suspicious area is identified, you may be asked to come back for a follow-up exam, or a small biopsy can be taken. The biopsy is then sent off to a laboratory for microscopic analysis to determine diagnosis. Early intervention is extremely important for a positive outlook to your care. If you suspect that you have a suspicious area of your tissue in your mouth, then ask your dentist to conduct an oral cancer exam to help put your mind at ease.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates
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