Oral Cancer Screening in Every Dental Exam

Oral cancer screening is something we have done every dental exam visit for the past 3 decades.

As reported in a recent interview with Michael A Kahn DDS of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, only 15% of patients are aware of being given an oral cancer exam by their dentist. Since more people die yearly from this than from cervical cancer and melanoma, it should be on the top of your to do list. Risk factors include smoking and chewing tobacco, along with alcohol.

The aldehyde in alcohol increase the absorption of cancer causing substances. Dr Kahn advises his patients, as I do, to avoid swishing daily with an alcohol based mouthwash. See my prior post: Why use alcohol containing mouth rinses when there are effective non alcohol mouth rinses available OTC? for a rundown on alcohol based mouthwashes. Perform a self exam once a month. Look for raised red or white patches in your mouth with a flashlight and a hand mirror. If present after two weeks, have us look at it, and possibly take a sample (biopsy) for analysis. Survival is high with early diagnosis and treatment.