Oral cancer screenings are performed regularly at dental exams, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paying attention to your dental hygiene between appointments. Taking matters into your own hands is the best way to maintain your oral health. Not sure how to screen for oral cancer? We’ll show you!
What is oral pathology?
This branch of dentistry involves the evaluation and treatment of diseases of the mouth. The most dangerous, but not always the most obvious, of these diseases is oral cancer.
What should I look for?
Keep an eye out for these oral cancer symptoms during your self-screenings:
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Lumps on the tongue or lining of the mouth
- Mouth sores that won’t heal
- Unexplained bleeding
- Chronic throat soreness
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Mouth numbness
How do I perform an oral cancer self-exam?
- When performing your oral cancer self-screening, be sure to check all areas of the mouth, including the roof, floor, tongue, lips, cheeks and the back of your throat.
- Examine your face in the mirror for abnormal asymmetry and irregularities.
- Feel your neck and the back of your head with your fingers to look for any bumps or changes in texture.
- Examine your throat by placing your fingers around your thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) and swallowing.
How often should I perform a self-exam?
Self-exams should be performed at least once a month. Changes to your oral health can occur rapidly, so it’s important to stay on top of things. Treatment is most effective if we detect symptoms early.