Screen for Oral Cancer with a Dental Discount Plan
By: Donna Pleis
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says that almost 40,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and 7,800 will die as a result of this disease. These are alarming statistics, considering this not only a preventable disease, but one that can be treated successfully when caught early enough.
Screening for oral cancer is easy, and dentists routinely examine their patients for signs of oral cancer during checkup appointments. But if you have been avoiding the dentist because you don’t have insurance, a dental discount plan makes regular dental visits more affordable, giving you no excuse to skip this important life-saving screening.
Who Gets Oral Cancer?
This is a disease that is more common in men over age 40, and according to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, 90% of those who develop oral cancer either smoke or use a smokeless tobacco product. Heavy alcohol use is another risk factor that increases the chances of contracting an oral cancer, and the combination of using alcohol and smoking raises the risk by 15 times.
The human papilloma virus, which is usually associated with cervical cancer in women, has been recently linked to certain oral cancers. And excessive sun exposure is often the cause of cancer of the lip.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Recognizing the signs of oral cancer is often the key to getting the early treatment needed for a successful outcome. If any of the following symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your doctor or dentist right away.
- Thick rough patches anywhere in your mouth or throat
- Unusual lumps, sores or swellings in your mouth
- Red or white lesions, either on your lips or in your mouth
- Feeling as though there is something caught in your throat
- A sore throat that doesn’t go away
- Any type of numbness or pain in your mouth or on your tongue
- Discomfort or pain in just one ear
- Problems speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving your tongue or jaw
- Teeth that have become loose without any identifiable cause
- Difficulty wearing dentures because of swellings in your mouth
How Dental Discount Plans Help
When you see a dentist who participates with your dental discount plan, you’ll receive a discount of up to 50% on all services, significantly reducing your out-of-pocket expenses. These savings can be especially important when you consider a checkup visit, which includes a dental examination, oral cancer screening, teeth cleaning, and a couple of x-rays, can total anywhere from $114 to $320. And when you have substantial savings for all of your dental needs, you be less likely to skip important checkup visits.
Making healthy lifestyle choices can help keep oral cancer out of your future. But don’t forget, regular dental exams and oral cancer screenings are essential to catching problems early for positive results. Click on the link to the right and select a Confident® dental discount plan from Careington® and schedule an oral cancer screening appointment with a participating dentist in your area.