Detecting Oral Cancer & Your Red Deer Family Dentist

Cancer is serious and few Canadians have escaped from its effects on loved ones. At Parkland Mall Dental Centre, our dental professionals have the expertise, skills, and training to detect early signs of oral disease. Diagnosing oral cancer requires professional expertise and we believe in prevention as part of a good oral health routine.

According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), oral cancer is a disease resulting from abnormal cell growth in the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. In 2003, an estimated 3,100 new cases of oral cancers were identified in Canada, and about 1,090 deaths occurred as a result of the disease. People over the age of 45 are most at risk. The good news is that oral cancer can be treated successfully if caught early enough.

There are many causes of oral cancer, some of which are not known. However, known risk factors include:

  • Tobacco and alcohol use. Most cases of oral cancer are linked to cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol use, or the use of both tobacco and alcohol together.
  • HPV. Infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (specifically the HPV 16 type) has been linked to a subset of oral cancers.
  • Age. Risk increases with age. Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40.
  • Sun exposure. Cancer of the lip can be caused by sun exposure.
  • Diet. A diet low in fruits and vegetables may play a role in oral cancer development.
  • Genetics and gender – more men develop the disease than women.

Prevention is preferred to treatment so check your mouth regularly, and watch for these signs and symptoms including:

  • White or dark red patches in your mouth, or on your lips or tongue.
  • Lumps or changes in the texture or colour of the mouth tissues.
  • Bleeding or numbness in the mouth; sores or patches that do not heal.
  • Difficulty swallowing; changes in taste or tongue sensation.

Treatment depends on the severity and location of the disease, as well as the age and health of the patient. If oral cancer is suspected, a biopsy (surgical removal and microscopic examination) of the suspicious area may be taken. Imaging tests such as X-rays, ultra sounds, CT scans or MRIs may be taken. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery may be necessary to remove tumor(s).

April is Dental Health Month and the Alberta Dental Association and College reminds you that taking proper care of your teeth and gums makes a significant contribution to your overall health and wellbeing. Check your mouth regularly for signs or symptoms and report any changes in your mouth to your Parkland Mall Dental Centre Red Deer dentist right away and look for the CDA Seal of Recognition when purchasing oral health product.

New patients are always welcome for any Parkland Mall Dental Centre dental services you or your family members need, visit our Red Deer dentist office or call today to set an appointment at 403-342-1118.