August is National Wellness Month, so proper dental care habits are a major factor to consider when looking at your overall health.
As we have shown in previous blogs, good health begins with your teeth. If your teeth or mouth are unhealthy, it may lead to many breakdowns in your body. Sometimes these can have serious consequences on your health.
We have some advice for you to stay healthy and practice wellness, year-round:
- Have regular doctor and dental checkups. It’s recommended that you see your family or general physician at least once a year for a routine examination. This exam may include blood or urine tests. You should also have two dental cleanings and checkups every year.
- Oral Cancer Screening. This examination is performed by a dentist to see if there are any signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth. Oral cancer screening is important to help identify any suspicious areas. Dentists typically perform an oral cancer exam during a routine dental visit. The dentist may also do additional tests to identify any abnormal cells. An oral cancer screening test does not necessarily prove that a patient may have cancer. Consult with your dentist for the best steps to take.
- Screening for Lung Cancer if you are at high risk. There is a commonly used lung cancer test known as a low-dose CAT scan or CT scan for patients at a higher risk of getting lung cancer. These scans may find abnormal areas in the lungs. CT scans have saved more lives compared to routine chest x-rays. For higher-risk people, yearly CT scans before symptoms start lower the risk of dying from lung cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends people at higher risk for lung cancer consult with their doctor about whether to get screened. If they decide to get screened, they should do it yearly through age 74, or as long as they are in good health.
- Screening with a Dermatologist. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells usually caused by UV rays from the sun, tanning beds, or genetic mutations. There are several types of skin cancer. Melanoma is the deadliest and Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common. The signs may include a new growing mole or spot or lesions that itch, bleed, or don’t heal. Skin cancers also have irregular borders. You can inspect your skin regularly for skin melanomas as about half of melanomas are self-detected. Look for irregular new spots or skin texture changes. Check any moles or skin lesions for changes in color, size, or shape. Itching or bleeding skin may also be a sign of skin cancer. Your dermatologist can also identify any potential skin cancer lesions. They will do a biopsy to see if the lesion is cancerous. A biopsy is a skin sample removed for closer examination.
- Colonoscopy. This is an examination of the bowels using a colonoscope which is a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera. It identifies serious health issues like colorectal cancer, polyps, and ulcers. The colonoscopy helps your doctor identify abnormalities or diseases in the large intestine, particularly the colon. Colonoscopies are recommended every five to ten years for people beginning at the age of 45 and can be performed more or less frequently based on your risk factors.
- Mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray image of the breasts. It’s used for breast cancer screening or for diagnostic purposes. Mammograms are key to finding breast cancer. They can detect breast cancer before it causes signs and symptoms. Annual mammograms are recommended at age 45 and up to every five years as the risks of getting breast cancer increase.
National Wellness Month is a reminder to get the medical tests you and your family need to get healthy and stay healthy. Please don’t delay!
All Smiles Bethesda has an experienced dental hygiene staff that can do your oral cancer screening and your annual teeth cleaning. If you would like to schedule an appointment for you or your family, please call us at 301-984-9646 and or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
We serve the Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, MD, and the Washington, DC area.