Why You Should Have Oral Cancer Screening Done

Have you ever had a mouth sore that just wouldn’t go away? Or maybe you’ve noticed a change in your voice or a lump in your neck. These could all be signs of oral cancer.

While it’s not the most common type of cancer, oral cancer is on the rise. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 53,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in 2019 alone.

The good news is that oral cancer is highly treatable when caught early. That’s why it’s so important to get regular screenings, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

In this blog post, we’ll explain why you should get screened for oral cancer, how the screening process works, and answer some frequently asked questions.

By the end, you’ll know everything you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to get screened. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Get Screened for Oral Cancer

If you’ve never had an oral cancer screening before, you might be wondering what it is and why it’s important.

An oral cancer screening is a quick and painless exam of your mouth, throat, tongue, and lips. It’s usually done during a routine dental visit.

The purpose of the exam is to look for signs of oral cancer, such as sores that won’t heal, discolored patches or lesions on the gums or tongue, and changes in your voice.

If any suspicious areas are detected during the exam, further tests will be done to determine whether they’re malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).

Getting screened for oral cancer is important because early detection can mean a better chance of successful treatment. Many of the signs don’t appear until the disease has advanced to later stages. That’s why it’s so important to get screened regularly, even if you feel healthy.

How Does Oral Cancer Screening Work?

Oral cancer screenings are done during a routine dental visit. The dentist will examine your mouth and look for any signs or symptoms of oral cancer.

They’ll also do a visual exam, looking at your lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, and throat for any discolorations or irregularities. They may also use special tools to inspect the area further.

If anything looks suspicious during the exam, further tests may be needed to determine if it’s malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). This could include a biopsy or an imaging scan such as an X-ray or MRI.


1. Who should get screened?

Anyone over the age of 18 should get screened for oral cancer. It’s especially important if you have any risk factors, such as smoking or drinking alcohol in excess.

2. How often should I get screened?

It’s recommended that you get an oral cancer screening at least once every three years, but more frequent screenings are encouraged if you have any risk factors for the disease.

3. Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk of getting oral cancer?

Yes! Quitting smoking and avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol are two of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. Additionally, eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, avoiding UV radiation exposure, and practicing good oral hygiene are all important steps you can take to reduce your risk.


Oral cancer is a serious disease that affects thousands of people each year. Fortunately, it’s highly treatable when caught early. That’s why getting regular oral cancer screenings is so important, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

By understanding what an oral cancer screening entails and how it works, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to get screened. Don’t put off getting checked — early detection could save your life!

How To Floss The Right Way

Cleaning between your teeth daily is essential to maintaining good oral health

Well, brushing is great. But did you know that only brushing won’t keep your mouth clean? 

Proper dental flossing reaches those parts where your toothbrush can’t, between your teeth and under the gum line. Left untreated, the bacterial buildup can cause cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.

We know we should floss at least once every day, but everybody does not know the proper way to do it. If you don’t have time for flossing in the morning, always floss before your final brush of the day, i.e., before bedtime.

Step-by-step guide on how to floss your teeth correctly:

  • Break off nearly 18 inches of dental floss and coil most of it around one of your middle fingers. Coil the remaining floss (2-3 inches) around that same finger of your opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it turns dirty.
  • As you floss your teeth, hold your floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers.
  • Guide the floss between your teeth in a slow rubbing motion. Never snap or force the floss into your gums, as this may cut or bruise your delicate gum tissue
  • When the floss reaches your gum line, bend it into a C shape against one tooth. Slowly slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  • Hold the floss firmly against the tooth. Slowly rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. 
  • Move to a clean section of floss and repeat this process on each of your teeth. Don’t skip the back side of your last tooth. 
  • Floss in a clockwise motion, starting with your upper molars on your left side and ending with your lower molars on your left side. 
  • Once you’re done, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be good and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth. 
  • Follow with brushing and washing your mouth with water or an antibacterial mouthwash. 

What kind of floss should I use?

It’s just a piece of string. Two types of floss are usually available:

Nylon (or multifilament) floss

Nylon floss is a type of dental floss made from multiple nylon strands. It is the most common type of dental floss and can be found in most drugstores and supermarkets. Nylon floss is available in both waxed and unwaxed varieties.

How to floss your teeth with Nylon Floss?

To use nylon floss correctly, you will need to start with a small length of floss. Wrap the ends of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving a few inches in between. Then, holding the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, slide it up and down against each tooth. Be sure to get under the gumline and work the floss back and forth carefully. When you are finished with one tooth, move on to the next one and continue until all of your teeth have been cleaned.

PTFE (monofilament) floss

While more costly, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth and is virtually shred-resistant. 

If it’s difficult to use regular floss, you can try floss picks, water flossing, or other tools.

How to floss your teeth with PTFE Floss?

PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene, is floss made from a monofilament.

To use PTFE floss, wind it around your middle fingers and hold it taut between your thumbs and index fingers. Gently insert the floss between your teeth and use a back-and-forth motion to clean the sides of your teeth. Be sure to use a gentle touch not to damage your gums. When you are finished Flossing, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash to remove any remaining plaque or bacteria.

Get a little extra help!

Now, if you’re looking for a ‘Dentist near me in Oak Forest, IL, then surely call us at Oak Forest Family Dental. Remember, you’re not alone. Talk to your Dentist in Oak Forest about what kinds of oral care products will be most effective for you.