5 ways dental professionals can become involved during Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Eric Nuss, director of consulting for Henry Schein Dental in West Allis, Wisc., suggests five tips to help dental professionals become more involved during Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Eric Nuss, director of consulting for Henry Schein Dental in West Allis, Wisc., suggests five tips to help dental professionals become more involved during Oral Cancer Awareness Month ...

RELATED | Oral cancer is on the rise: Consumer Reports falls short

1.Be aware! This disease will show its face in the average dental practice once every two to four years. Technology exists today to screen more effectively than ever before.

RELATED |A necessary challenge: How to talk to your patients about the connection between HPV and oral cancer

2.Be an advocate for oral health! Your patients come to see you willingly one to four times each year. They trust you with their health, though they may not always accept your treatment. When life is on the line, patients listen.

3.Be an educator! Preventive health is in the wheelhouse of the dental industry. Prevention is a result of education. When your team is communicating the same message to your patients without contradictory statistics, feelings, and direction, your patients are more likely to hear your message.

4.Be brave! Approaching the topic of oral cancer can be scary. Imagine how your patients feel. Imagine how they would feel if you knew something but didn’t tell them their risks, potential complications, and outcomes. Your bravery in this area transcends to heroism when just one life is saved because of your actions.

5.Be up-to-date! Research continues to evolve our understanding of oral cancer, its prevention, its diagnosis, and its treatment. The following resources are a good place to check to become aware of the latest developments:

American Dental Association at http://www.ada.org

National Institute of Dental and Cranial Research at http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/

Oral Cancer Foundation at http://oralcancerfoundation.org/

American Academy of Oral Systemic Health at http://www.aaosh.org/

More in Oral Cancer