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How Frequently Should You Have an Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening is an important part of dentistry as it indicates any warning signs that oral cancer may be present or on its way. Thankfully, these screenings are quick, painless and very easy! General dentists can perform them during a routine checkup appointment, which makes it even easier.
There are two parts of an oral cancer screening, the first being a visual examination where the soft and hard tissues of the mouth are carefully inspected. The second part involves a physical examination, in which the dentist feels around the patient's mouth. One question that often arises in regards to oral cancer is how often an oral cancer screening should take place. Ready to find out?
How often to have an oral cancer screening
Below is an overview of how often oral cancer screenings should be performed. This information can be helpful for patients who are not sure.
Children are not typically required to undergo an oral cancer screening, as their risk is quite low. However, once children develop into young adults, most general dentists recommend a screening during a checkup appointment. Patients that are over the age of 20 should undergo an oral cancer screening every three years just to check for any warning signs or abnormalities that may indicate early onset oral cancer.
Adults and the elderly
Once patients reach the age of 40, general dentists recommend that an oral cancer screening take place at least once a year. Most patients are required to visit their dentist twice a year or every six months for a routine checkup. During one of these appointments, the dentist can also perform an oral cancer screening, which will not take long!
Elderly patients that are over the age of 60 are also recommended to undergo an oral cancer screening once a year. In some scenarios, elderly patients are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer, which may make the dentist recommend more frequent screenings.
While most general dentists recommend the above guidelines for undergoing an oral cancer screening, there are some other factors that may play into the required frequency. Patients that have older family members who had oral cancer are often more likely to be at risk. Genetics play a big role in things such as oral cancer, which is why frequent screenings may be necessary. Additionally, those that have serious oral health problems may be at a higher risk of developing cancer in their mouths. With that being said, most general dentists recommend oral cancer screenings twice a year, for those who are at higher risk.
Learn more today!
Oral cancer screenings are crucial for maintaining good health. They can quickly catch any signs that may indicate a need for treatment. Working with a general dentist to better understand oral cancer screenings and how often they are needed is a great place to start. Reach out today to learn more or to get started.
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