When it comes to leading a long, healthy life, it’s always best to know yourself…and to give yourself a once over every so often. While this advice can take on significant philosophical meaning, we’re talking about knowing yourself better physiologically speaking…of course. Being in tune with your body and watching out for early symptoms of gum disease can make your next dental visit a little more enjoyable.
The more upkeep you do on your chompers, the less your dentist has to chisel away on your next appointment.
Every hour of every day somebody in the United States dies of oral cancer. This serious dental disease, which can lead to and indicate other, even more serious health concerns. You’ll be screened for oral cancer when you go in for your next regular dental exam, but a regular at-home screening is highly recommended as well. This is even more true for those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol, smoke or use tobacco products, have lip-biting and cheek-chewing habits, or ill-fitting dentures. All those things already put you at a higher risk for gum disease.
Here’s how to screen for oral cancer at home, courtesy of Internet Dental Alliance:
– Examine yourself in the mirror. The left and right sides of the face and neck should have the same shape. Check for swelling, lumps and bumps.
– Look at your skin and note any changes in the color or size of sores, moles or other growths.
– Press your fingers along the sides and front of your neck. Do you feel any tenderness or swelling?
– Pull your lower lip out and look for any sores. Use your thumb and forefinger to feel the upper and lower lips for lumps or texture changes.
– Examine the insides of your cheeks for red, white or dark patches. Gently squeeze and roll each cheek between your index finger and thumb to check for bumps and tenderness.
– Tilt your head back to check the roof of your mouth, and then run your finger along the surface. Do you feel or see any unusual lumps or discoloration?
– Check out the top, bottom and sides of your tongue, including the soft tissue under it. Once again, note any swelling, discoloration or unusual lumps.
Symptoms of oral cancer include: sores on the face, neck or mouth that do not heal within a couple of weeks; swelling, lumps or bumps on the lips and gums; chronic bleeding in the mouth; white, red or dark patches in your lips, cheeks, gums or tongue; and numbness, loss of feeling or general pain in any area of the face, mouth or neck.
If you have questions regarding optimum dental health, ASK YOUR DENTIST!
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