Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral Cancer Screenings in Westwood

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer can affect the lips, cheeks, teeth, gums, tongue, and both the bottom and roof of the mouth. It can also develop in the oropharynx, which is the part of the throat at the back of the mouth.

The oral cavity is vital in the healthy functioning of the body, including breathing and eating. With the variety of places in the mouth where oral cancer can begin, treatments and symptoms vary and should be diagnosed only by professionals.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Some factors increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer.


The risk of oral cancer increases with age, starting at age 55. However, younger people may also develop the disease.


Oral cancer is twice as common in men as it is in women. Other factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, may be factors in this, following societal trends.

Ultraviolet Light

Oral cancer that manifests in the lips is more common among those who work outdoors, expose themselves to long periods of sunlight, or frequently use tanning beds.

Poor Nutrition

Studies have found that oral cancer can be caused by poor nutrition. Diets low in fruit and vegetable intake are linked with an increased risk of oral cancer.

Tobacco Use

Approximately 80 percent of patients with oral cancer are tobacco users. Risks of developing oral cancer increase depending on the frequency of tobacco use as well as duration. This includes all forms of tobacco, such as cigarettes, snuff, or chewing tobacco.


There are inherited genetic mutations that may cause syndromes in the body which carry a heightened risk of oral cancer. These include Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital, which may cause aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia carries a high risk of oral cancer at a young age.


About 70 percent of people with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. The risk is increased substantially for users of both alcohol and tobacco.

Oral Cancer Screenings in Westwood

Your dentists at Starry Dental, PC can perform oral cancer screenings if you have any concerns or symptoms that may be cause for concern. Regularly scheduled appointments and check-ups will help identify any risk factors as soon as possible and will encourage overall excellent oral health.

The oral cancer screening is an examination performed by your dentist to look for signs and symptoms of developing oral cancer. If symptoms are found, additional testing may be required as ordered by your dentist.

During the screening, your dentist will examine the inside of your mouth to check for discolored patches or sores. The dentist will also feel the tissue in the mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities.

You may also undergo additional testing during the screening, such as a rinse with a specialized blue dye that highlights abnormal cells within the mouth.

If your dentist finds any signs or symptoms of oral cancer that they feel needs additional testing, they may recommend a follow-up appointment to see if the symptoms have alleviated, or a biopsy procedure to test a sample of cells in concern areas within your mouth.

It is a good idea to be checked regularly depending on your risk factors for oral cancer. If you would like to schedule an appointment to have a screening performed, contact our office at Starry Dental in Westwood.

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