The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Dental Hygiene Students and Faculty to Offer Free Oral Cancer Screenings

Jasmine Brown ’19, one of the students who will be providing free oral cancer screenings and information to the public, discusses the importance of good oral health and how University of New Haven dental hygiene students give back to the community.

March 25, 2019

By Jasmine Brown ’19

Image of a dental hygiene student
A dental hygiene student working at a recent community outreach event in Bridgeport.

The treatment that student dental hygienists provide at the University of New Haven Dental Hygiene Center is more than just a "cleaning." Some of the affordable services that we provide include blood pressure screenings, periodontal disease and cavity screenings, oral hygiene education, x-rays, and oral cancer screenings.

By applying the skills we are learning, we are able to give back to our community and provide our patients with comprehensive care. As a program, we like to go beyond the dental operatory to reach patients who would otherwise not be seen by a dental health professional. This is why we will be at the CVS Pharmacy on the Boston Post Road in Orange on Saturday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to noon conducting an oral cancer screening event in partnership with the Oral Cancer Foundation.

An oral cancer screening is very important. The health of the mouth can affect the health of the entire body, so it is crucial to maintain a healthy oral environment.

Oral cancer comes in many different forms, colors, and locations. Being able to detect clinical signs on your own can make a big difference because it enables you to seek treatment earlier. The things we consistently look for in our clinic and at the CVS cancer screenings are abnormal red or white lumps, bumps, or spots.

"The health of the mouth can affect the health of the entire body, so it is crucial to maintain a healthy oral environment."Jasmine Brown ’19

Cancer may cause symptoms such as pain, swelling of oral tissues, or numbness. The most common locations for cancer to occur are under the tongue, the sides of the tongue, inside of the cheek, gums, and the roof of the mouth.

Mouth cancer can arise for many reasons. Smoking and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco) are risk factors that make a person six times more likely to develop cancer. Excessive consumption of alcohol can also cause cancer. Other risk factors include sun exposure or exposure to the HPV virus, especially at a young age.

Whether a screening is provided by a dental professional in a private office, through a self-exam at home, or by future dental hygienists at our local CVS Pharmacy, a routine check is highly recommended.