Did you know that dentist’s can check for oral cancer?
We know how important it is to go to the doctor for regular check-ups and what we should do to keep our bodies in tip-top shape. But what about our dental health and oral cancer?
Your dental health and general wellbeing are directly linked. Visiting your dentist is not just important for keeping your teeth clean and cavity free. It is also critical in the early detection of oral cancer.
Oral cancer in Australia is on the rise, with 4000 new cases diagnosed each year (Colgate, 2015); almost a 50 per cent increase in 10 years. It is a particularly nasty form of cancer.
Medical practitioners don’t often check for symptoms, which is why it is imperative to your health and wellbeing to see your dentist regularly.
The best solution is prevention, which means being proactive with your dental health.
How do you check for oral cancer?
The VELscope is a machine used to screen for oral cancer. This is often a free service offered with check-up appointments and only takes 1-2 minutes during your consultation.
The VELscope uses a process similar to a florescent light to diagnose any abnormalities in and around the mouth. It is extremely effective in preventing the disease and is a very easy procedure that’s completely non-
invasive and does not use rinses or dyes.
Who should have a check-up for oral cancer?
People aged between 20-39 years should be examined by their dentist at least every three years; those over 40 years of age require screening annually.
Early detection is critical because exposing oral abnormalities early leads to more treatment options, potentially less invasive or radical treatments and better patient outcomes
What are the causes?
- Smoking and drinking high levels of alcohol
- Gum disease or poor oral hygiene
- Poor diet
- Sun exposure (in the case of lip cancer)
- Family history of oral cancer
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
It’s important in the prevention is to find a dentist who does the diagnostic screening using the VELscope as part of their general consultation.
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