In a healthy mouth, the inner lining is covered with mucosa, a type of skin that is smooth and pink. When changes to the appearance of the mucosa are noted, this could be a warning sign that something is going on with the health of your mouth, and the most serious concern is oral cancer. The following signs may indicate a cancerous growth or other pathological process:
These changes can be detected in the gum tissue, palate, cheeks, lips, face, tongue, or neck. Pain might occur, but isn't always present, especially with oral cancer. However, if you do notice any oral or facial pain without an obvious reason or cause, you should have an exam to check for oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Periodic oral cancer screenings are essential for detecting a problem while it is still treatable. Most dentists will perform an exam of your mouth during a routine dental visit in order to screen for oral cancer, and factors that can increase your risk include:
In addition to looking for changes in the color of the inside of your mouth, your dentist may also feel the tissues of the mouth to check for abnormalities or lumps. If you wear dentures that can be removed, your dentist will ask you to take them out to better inspect the tissue located underneath them.
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