We have so many stressors in our modern high tech world, struggling to brush and floss our teeth shouldn’t be one of them, and yet maintaining the minimum of good oral hygiene, is often a low priority, for millions of people.
This year’s messaging for World Cancer Day on February 4th is empowering: “We Can. I Can.” So much of what’s going on in our world today is out of our control, but we can manifest good oral health, by seeking regular checkups, and routine dental care, such as teeth cleanings.
As dental professionals, we can often be the first life line of defense against oral cancers. While smoking and tobacco use are major risk factors, the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection with the HPV virus.
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of a dental examination. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are critical to the early detection of cancerous and precancerous conditions. There may be a very small, but dangerous, spot or sore resembling a pimple that patients may not be aware of---not only inside the mouth, but along the outer jawlines.
Gum disease is the most widespread human infection, and while our research consistently shows us the link between optimum oral health and the rest of our body’s resistance to diseases, people often remain unwilling to care for their mouths.
We can improve treatment outcomes for oral cancer with early detection, and healthy lifestyle choices increase our chances of preventing cancerous cells from attacking us, all the way from our heads to our toes.
World Cancer Day gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on our need for early detection to save lives. Join me! As partners in health, we can all make a difference in the world of oral cancers.