Why Oral Cancer Cases Are Rising, and Why You Should Get Screened

rise in oral cancer impending in younger generation, importance of routine oral cancer exams

When I ask, "What's in your mouth?" Most people look at me with their head cocked to one side and a look on their face that says, "you're strange." Well, I may indeed be strange, however, I've studied about and practiced in the human oral environment for over twenty years. I have found that most people don't know that there is more going on in their mouth than chewing and kissing.

The virus, human papilloma 6, 11, 8, & 16 is associated with oral cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. It can lie dormant and undetected in your body for many years. Sores or warts from this virus can appear in your mouth, throat, larynx, tongue, tonsils.  This is a concern for many persons in their 20's and 30's. Customarily oral cancers appeared in older individuals, 65+ and those that abused cigarettes and alcohol. Today, that isn't the case.

Dental health professionals, licensed dentists and dental hygienists, are educated in performance of oral cancer screenings. We look and feel for  unusual markings in a mouth. And, there will usually be one! When a mark, lump, or sore is found we think of possible reasons for it's existence. Often times the unusual mark is from normal function; Trauma from foods: too hot, too sharp, too spicy , are common to find. Then there are markings from oral habits: biting on cheeks or lips or an occupational hazard, like routinely holding carpenter nails between your lips when climbing a ladder. These are just a fraction of things a dental professional "sees" when looking into a patients mouth. The key is that a cause can be identified and when the irritant is removed the mark goes away. Any mark, sore, or lump that does not go away within two weeks should be looked at by a licensed oral care professional. Unfortunately, Oral cancer doesn't always hurt. So, most people don't know they have a mark, lump, or sore in their mouth. Oral cancer screenings by a licensed professional should be routinely performed. So, What's in your mouth?

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lucia anna
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Posted on Dec 1, 2010