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When you go to your dental checkup, your dentist will evaluate your oral health and your overall health, check for tooth decay, gum or bone disease, and check your bite and jaw for any problems. Your dentist will also clean stains or deposits on your teeth and around your gum line, and take dental x-rays, as well as give you any recommendations on how to better care for your teeth.

One of the things your dentist will look for is any lesions in the mouth or on the lips which might indicate oral cancer. While healthy people might not need to worry about oral cancer, there are some risk factors that might have your dentist looking closely for signs of oral cancer:

–If you are a heavy user of tobacco, whether smoking it in cigarette, pipe, or cigar form, or chewing, dipping or sniffing it.
–If you have a family history of cancer.
–If you drink alcohol heavily.
–Heavy UV exposure, particularly if you had some severe sunburns while growing up.

During your checkup, your dentist will look inside your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores, while also feeling the tissues in your mouth for lumps and abnormalities.

If cancer is found, you will want to have all the cancerous growth surgically removed. You may also receive radiation treatments or chemotherapy to eradicate any cancerous cells.

The best protection in your quest to be cancer-free is early detection. Keep your dental cleanings and checkups, eat a balanced diet, avoid tobacco in all its forms, and drink alcohol in moderation. If you spend time outside in the sun, wear a UV sunscreen on your skin and your lips, and if necessary, wear a floppy hat to keep the sun off the face.

Early detection can go a long way to helping you live a long and healthy life. We invite you to call our office at 845-454-0790 if it is time for your next dental cleaning and exam.