Your dentist screens for and treats a variety of oral health conditions, like cavities and gum disease. It may come as a surprise, however, that they also look for potential signs of oral cancer, which affects the mouth and throat. It mainly affects men over 40, and is typically caused by alcohol and tobacco abuse, infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV), or sun exposure. Here are some important things to consider about this disease.

Why Is Early Detection Important?

It’s important to identify the signs of oral cancer as early as possible because the condition becomes more difficult to treat, and may even be fatal, the more advanced that it gets. Paying regular visits to your dentist is vital to achieving optimal oral health — and ensuring that your provider detects the symptoms before the disease has a chance to progress.

When caught at the right time, the survival rate is between 80% and 90%. In contrast, the mortality rate at five years is 43%. Professionals use a range of state-of-the-art tools to look for possible symptoms, like lesions, asymmetrical areas, sore spots, and signs of sore throat. They may also check the lymph nodes for lumps, which could be indicative of an infection.

What Happens if Signs of Oral Cancer Are Found?


If your dentist suspects that you have signs of oral cancer, they may recommend that you schedule a biopsy to assess the condition of the tissues. This is a vital piece of the puzzle, since it’s one of the most effective ways to detect the presence of disease early. 

If you do have oral cancer, your provider may recommend either surgical intervention, radiation, or a combination of the two. At a later stage, it may be necessary to begin chemotherapy.

Even if your test results are negative, it’s still best to implement strategic protocols to prevent oral cancer later in life. For starters, avoid using tobacco, drinking, and smoking cigarettes and prioritize your dental hygiene. Make daily brushing a regular part of your routine, as neglecting this step could lead to an unhealthy mouth that’s hospitable to cancer growth.


If you seek a reliable dentist who can perform routine exams and screen for oral cancer, turn to C. R. Sfeir, DDS, General Dentistry. Serving patients throughout Lorain, OH, since 1995, Dr. Sfeir offers a range of services to ensure the long-term health of your teeth and gums. Visit the clinic's website to learn more about their services, or call (440) 960-5200 to schedule an appointment.