Dental Health

Tobacco use is the leading cause for oral cancer.  Cigarette, cigar and pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers.  Furthermore, users of smokeless tobacco products are 50 times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers.

Oral cancer includes, but is not limited to, cancers of the:

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Cheeks
  • Floor of the mouth
  • Hard and soft palates
  • Sinuses
  • Throat

Early detection of oral cancer is extremely important.  Oral cancer screenings include regularly scheduled soft tissue dental exams, patient self-exams, as well as supplemental screening devices, such as the VELscope:

The VELscope is one of the most powerful tool available for assisting in the discovery of oral abnormalities. The VELscope’s distinctive blue-spectrum light causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally fluoresce. Healthy tissues fluoresce in distinctive patterns — patterns that are visibly disrupted by trauma or disease.  By using the VELscope, a wide variety of oral abnormalities can be discovered — often before they’re visible to the unassisted eye.

Discovering soft tissue abnormalities is particularly important in the fight against oral cancer. Because the VELscope assists in early detection, cancer can be caught before it has time to spread, potentially saving lives through less invasive, more effective treatment.

Discovering soft tissue abnormalities is particularly important in the fight against oral cancer.  Because the VELscope assists in early detection, cancer can be caught before it has time to spread, potentially saving lives through less invasive, more effective treatment.

As part of West Florida AHEC’s mission to educate about tobacco cessation, VELscope screenings are offered at various worksite, community health and wellness events.