Cancer, General Health
Oral Cancer: Why Oral Health Can Save Your Life

Oral Cancer: Why Oral Health Can Save Your Life

Did you know your dentist does more than checks your teeth and gums for dental diseases? They also check your mouth for signs of oral cancer. Our Fargo dental team makes a point to check for oral cancer whenever we have a patient in the chair.

Oral Cancer Facts

Every hour of every day, one person in the United States in diagnosed with oral cancer. Only 57% of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive past 5 years. The reason oral cancer has such a low survival rate is that, more times than not, it is caught in a late stage.

We’re all taught to check our breasts for lumps on a very regular basis, to visit the dermatologist and have any and all moles checked for skin cancers, and to not smoke to prevent lung cancer. To be frank, most people don’t think to check your mouth for signs of oral cancer and we don’t teach them to- nor can they easily see every nook and cranny of their mouth and throat.

How Can Oral Health Effect Oral Cancer?

oral-cancer A big part of your oral health routine should be bi-annual check-ups with your dentist. As we previously mentioned, the our team examines your mouth for signs of this hard-to-catch cancer.

Additionally, when you are brushing and flossing properly every day, you’re paying attention to your teeth and gums. During this time, make it another habit to spend a few minutes looking over your gums, inside your lips and cheeks, around your tongue (and under it!). If you notice anything odd that doesn’t go away after a few days, make an appointment to see your dentist and have them take a look.

Early detection has proven to be a key factor in increasing your survival rate, so these regular checks by yourself and your dentist could mean the difference between an 80% chance of survival and a 50% chance.

As you’ve read, your oral hygiene routine can help you find any anomalies that may be the early stages of oral cancer. Make routine examinations of your mouth part of your regular oral care routine.

For more information on the signs of oral cancer, please visit

Dr. Melinda Harr

Dr. Melinda Harr graduated Summa Cum Laude from Jamestown College in 1992, where she was also a College Fellow in Nursing. She went on to obtain her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Minnesota in 1999, graduating with high distinction.

Dr. Melinda Harr

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