Great oral health is associated with great general health
Your dentist may be checking your teeth for cavities, but he/she can also observe general health changes in your gums, head, and neck. At your dental checkup, your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening. If you are visiting your dentist twice a year or more frequently, your dentist is more likely to find premalignant lesions early. If diagnosed in its earliest stages, treatment for oral cancer can be very effective, and lives can be saved!
You should have following checked by your dentist twice a year:
- Your lymph nodes in your neck
- Symmetry when you swallow for any evidence of swelling
- Your head, ears, and face for any evidence of skin cancer
- The tissues that line your mouth and lips
- The top and sides of your tongue
- The floor of your mouth
- Your cheek lining
- Your gums
- The roof of your mouth (your palate)
There are many common noncancerous bumps and ulcers in the oral cavity. Dentists have been trained to discern the difference between commonly found lesions and premalignant or malignant lesions. Most noncancerous lesions resolve themselves in two weeks. If you notice an ulcer in your mouth that has been around for longer than 2 weeks, schedule an appointment with your dentist for an evaluation.
Your dentist will also evaluate your dental health at these appointments. Remember, a beautiful smile is also a healthy smile, and your oral health should be very important to you! It is important to learn that addressing small problems as they arise will allow you to maintain the beauty and functionality of your teeth for your entire life.
Small fillings conserve more natural tooth structure than root canals and crowns. And they are less expensive! Ignoring your dental check ups can cause problems to grow bigger, lending to more problems, higher costs, and lower functionality of your teeth.