When you go to the dentist for a typical dental cleaning and examination, one of the things that they do is screen you for oral cancer. Since there are a lot of things in your mouth that may not seem normal, it will help to know what you can do at home to help screen for oral cancer.
Grab A Flashlight
It helps to have a lot of light when checking yourself for oral cancer, which is why it helps to get out a flashlight. You could also use a makeup mirror that has a ring light and some magnifications to help get a better look in your mouth.
Know Where To Look In Your Mouth
There are two key areas in your mouth where you will want to look for things that are a bit unusual. The sides of your tongue and the floor of your mouth are common places where people have signs of oral cancer, so it is best to start by looking there. While you can have signs in other places, it is best to focus on the most common areas if you are doing your own screening at home.
Start by extending your tongue as far out as it can go. You will want to check the surfaces on the side and underneath for any odd bumps, as well as white and red patches. You'll then want to look at the inside of your lips and cheeks for those bumps and patches that are an indication that something is wrong. Next, move to the roof of your mouth and look there as well. One problem that is unique to the hard palate of your mouth is that there can be soft spots. You should also check your tonsils. What you want to look out for is symmetry, that it is not enlarged, and doesn't have unusual bumps.
Check Your Neck
Ever wonder why your dentist checks your neck when you visit the dentist for a checkup? It is because they are testing your lymph nodes to see if they are enlarged, which means you have a potential infection.
While there are many things that can be wrong with your mouth that are okay, such as canker sores, you want to look for new things that have not been there before. If it doesn't go away after a couple of weeks, consider making an appointment with your dentist for a cancer screening to give you peace of mind.