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  • Writer's pictureBarbara McClatchie, DDS

Protect Your Health: Understanding Oral Cancer Screening

Have you ever experienced that moment of uncertainty while examining your mouth in the mirror, wondering if that persistent sore spot or unusual discoloration is cause for concern? As we navigate through our daily routines, it's easy to overlook subtle changes in our oral health. However, these seemingly minor details can sometimes serve as early indicators of a much larger issue—oral cancer. Oral cancer can also be asymptomatic, and could even be occurring without you noticing. 


April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the importance of early detection and prevention of oral cancer. At Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus, we prioritize your well-being by integrating preventive oral cancer screenings into every wellness appointment.


Understanding the Importance of Early Detection

Oral cancer may initially manifest without pain or symptoms, which is why early detection and regular prevention screenings are crucial. By identifying abnormalities in their early stages, we can significantly reduce potential health complications by intervening and promptly treating you. Abnormal screening results do not equate to a cancer diagnosis, but we may still refer you to a local specialist for more advanced testing.


The Screening Process: Detecting Early Signs

During your visit, our hygiene team conducts a comprehensive oral cancer screening using visual and tactile examinations. Your hygienist will screen your face, neck, lips, jaw, cheeks, and the oral cavity for any abnormalities, such as asymmetries, swellings, or discolorations. Additionally, gentle palpation is performed to detect any unusual nodules or masses.


Identifying Risk Factors

Common risk factors associated with oral cancer include, but are not limited to:

  • Tobacco use

  • Alcohol use

  • An HPV diagnosis

  • Sun exposure

  • Age (55+)

  • Gender (2x as common in men than in women)


These are the most common risk factors, but oral cancer can happen to anyone. By prioritizing regular screenings and healthy lifestyle habits, individuals can mitigate their risk and promote overall well-being.


Take Charge of Your Health Today

A screening for oral cancer is not only a physical exam, it's an opportunity for you to speak with us about any fears or concerns surrounding mouth cancer. It's completely normal to be nervous about the idea of oral cancer, but regularly participating in this screening will help put your mind at ease, which is why we include it at every wellness appointment!


At Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus, we are dedicated to your well-being. Our commitment to preventive care and holistic health means you can enjoy a healthy mouth and body. Whether you're starting a new health journey or continuing one, our team is here to support you every step of the way. Take control of your health today by scheduling an appointment with us!

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