Dental checkups are critical for healthy and long-lasting teeth, but they can also help with the detection of serious and even life-threatening forms of oral cancer.
Dentists are often the first to identify growths or suspicious-looking areas in the mouth of patients that could be the first sign of oral cancer – including oral cavity cancer, such as in the lips or tongue, and oropharyngeal cancer, more commonly referred to as throat cancer.
Early detection and treatment as soon as possible are important for defeating oral cancer, which can also occur in the cheeks, gums, tongue, and floor or roof of the mouth.
Currently, an estimated 91,000 people in the U.S. are living with oral cancer, and about 39,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, according to the National Institute of Health. About 8,000 deaths are connected to oral cancer every year in the U.S.
Many of those deaths could be prevented with early diagnosis, according to many reports. The five-year survival rate for oral cancer diagnosed early is 75 percent, but the rate drops dramatically to 20 percent with a late diagnosis, according to the NIH.
The routine checkup can be much more than just routine, it can help save your life.