Serious diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and eating disorders, can manifest as signs and symptoms inside of the mouth.
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The next time you visit your dentist, ask about your oral cancer screening – most people receive one during their regular dental checkup but do not realize it. The dentist checks about 10 places inside and around the mouth, looking for lumps or irregular tissue changes.
Every year, 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer, which accounts for roughly 7,500 deaths each year. "If detected early, oral cancer can be cured," says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Fred Magaziner, DDS, "That is why many dentists make this a part of their routine dental examination for their patients."
"Often, patients don't realize the exam is being conducted because it is a quick, comfortable addition to the patient's regular dental checkup," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Reviewed: January 2012
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