When Do I Need To Be Screened for Oral Cancer?

A woman in the dental chair getting an oral cancer screening.

Nearly 55,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Luckily, early detection highly increases the likelihood of successful treatment. That’s why regular oral cancer screenings for adults are so important. Let’s take a look at the factors that determine when you should be screened for oral cancer.

What Age to Begin Oral Cancer Screenings

Generally, it is recommended for all adults over the age of 18 to get regular oral cancer screenings. During your routine check-up, Dr. Metwally will take a close look at your gums, teeth, and tongue to make sure there are no abnormal growths or irregularities. Even if you feel fine and practice a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to check for symptoms of oral cancer, which can include:

  • Sores in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Red or white patches in the mouth or lips
  • Irregular growths in the mouth or lips

If you notice any of these symptoms between dentist visits, contact us as soon as possible to set up a screening.

How Frequently to Get Oral Cancer Screenings

As a rule, you should get checked for oral cancer at least once a year as part of a routine dental exam. That said, there are a number of habits or conditions that increase your chances of developing oral cancer, such as:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Family history of oral cancer
  • Prolonged sun exposure

If you have any of these risk factors, it is important to disclose them to your dentist, and we may recommend more frequent screenings. By being proactive with your health, you have a better shot of catching oral cancer early.

Oral Cancer Screenings in Raleigh, NC

Preventive action is critical when it comes to oral cancer. At home, keep an eye out for any symptoms, and work towards minimizing your oral cancer risk factors. For oral cancer screenings, Dr. Metwally and the team at Northside Dental are here for you. Contact us today to set up your next appointment!