The oral cavity includes your lips, cheek lining, gums, front part of your tongue, floor of the mouth beneath the tongue and the hard palate that makes up the roof of your mouth. The throat (pharynx) starts at the soft part of the roof of your mouth and continues back into your throat. It includes the back section of your tongue as well as the base where the tongue attaches to the floor of your mouth.
During your dental visit, our doctors examine these areas for signs of mouth and/or throat cancer. The screening will consist of a visual inspection of the mouth and palpation of the jaw and neck. Regular visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily. In between visits, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and see your dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks.
Did you know almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year? And that the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64 percent? When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.
The symptoms of mouth or throat cancer include: a sore or irritation that won’t go away, red or white patches, pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips, a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area, difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw, a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth.
If you see or feel any of these symptoms please call our office for a consultation. At Blue Ridge Dental Center, we examine these areas when patients come in for their regular exams and dental cleaning. We recommend a visit to the dentist every 6 months.
Dr. James Olson
Mouth Healthy: ADA