Oral cancer has been on the rise for several decades. For years we assumed it mostly occurred only if you had a family history, poor nutrition or were a tobacco user. Today we understand that even the healthiest of us can get oral cancer. The most common cause of oral cancer is a virus to which 95% of adults have been exposed. The good news about oral cancer is that if detected early, most forms respond very well to treatment.
There are two keys in the battle against oral cancer: Prevention and early detection. The virus that causes most oral cancers is the human papilloma virus (HPV) and can be prevented with a vaccine. Children and teens today should be vaccinated against the HPV virus. After vaccination the most important thing we can do is increase early detection. At your dental exam and professional cleaning appointments we will complete an oral cancer screening.
Oral cancer strikes three times as many victims as cervical cancer. It is one of the few types of cancer that has not seen a significant reduction over the past thirty years. Recent research has shown a strong association with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can be sexually transmitted. For this reason, many oral healthcare professionals now believe that all individuals over the age of 18 should have at least an annual comprehensive oral examination and ideally at every dental hygiene visit.