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Monitor dental health for signs of oral cancer
Updated: 8/26/2009 5:00:29 PM

Monitor dental health for signs of oral cancer A new report published by the University of California in Los Angeles discusses a new way that scientists believe oral cancer can be detected.

As people age, their risk for developing oral cancer may increase particularly if they smoke or chew tobacco, the American Dental Association (ADA) explains.

However, the research indicates that testing for oral cancer with microRNAs - molecules that are produced by cells and that control the behavior and activity of genes - is one viable way in which oral cancer can be detected. This may help improve the dental health of many Americans by catching the disease before it has had the chance to progress.

The UCLA team was able to compare these molecules in healthy and affected individuals, and they found that those with oral squamous cell carcinoma had different levels of the microRNAs than those who did not.

Some physical signs that can cause concern are small red or white sores inside the mouth, the ADA says. If you notice problems when swallowing, chewing or even speaking, it is a good idea to go for a dental checkup as soon as possible.

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