What Is the Leading Cause of Oral Cancer?

What Is the Leading Cause of Oral Cancer?

April 1, 2022

Oral cancer is a subtle disease that might easily creep on you. It is usually easy to miss, and most of the time, patients tend to brush away some of the symptoms. Oral cancer affects scores of people throughout the nation. It is estimated that about 50,000 people across the country are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. About 70% of this number are men.

It is a subtle killer, and that’s why oral cancer screenings in Redding, CA, are vital. Our dentist in 96001 can detect the disease during its infancy stages, which increases your chances of survival.

Oral cancer can be used to include cancers of the tongue, cheeks, lips, floor of the mouth, sinuses, hard and soft palate, and pharynx (throat).

What Is the Major Risk Factor for Oral Cancer?

When people talk about risk factors, they always assume that they will get the disease. But this isn’t entirely true. A risk factor is anything that will increase your chances of developing cancer.

Usually, the risk factors influence cancer development, but they don’t directly cause cancer. That is why people will have the risk factors and develop cancer, while others have no known risk factors and still develop cancer.

The whole idea is that you may know about the risk factors, and you can discuss them with our dentist in Redding, CA, to help you make informed health and lifestyle choices.

In any case, the risks factors that might lead to oral cancer are quite many. However, two leading factors greatly increase your chances of getting oral cancer, and they are:

  • Tobacco

Tobacco has never been your friend. Tobacco of any form is bad for your overall and oral health. It is, in fact, a risk factor that can lead to the development of different cancers in various parts of the body, including the mouth.

Statistics show that almost 85 percent of neck and head cancer is linked to tobacco use. If you use pipes, you might develop cancer located at the part that touches the pipe stem.

Chewing snuff or tobacco has been associated with an over 50 percent increase in developing cancer in the gums, cheeks, and inner surface of the lips. These areas have the most contact with tobacco.

You may also need to steer clear of secondhand smoke, which increases the risk of developing neck and head cancer.

  • Alcohol

Another major risk factor is the chronic overconsumption of alcohol. This habit also greatly increases your risk of developing neck and head cancer.

If you use alcohol and tobacco together by any chance, your risk exponentially increases. So, these are habits that are worth kicking!

Other Oral Cancer Risk Factors

There are also other risk factors that you need to know, such as:

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Over the past decades, oral cancer usually affected people above 50 years. This was because oral cancer took time before the symptoms manifested, and also, it was greatly linked to smokers and heavy alcohol consumers.

But the demographic has changed over the last several years, and now more young people are developing oral cancer. The reason is quite simple. Increased sexual activity, including oral sex with a person who has HPV, is the most common method of getting HPV. HPV-related oral cancer usually affects the base of the tongue and tonsils.

The best thing you can do is reduce your number of sexual partners since having multiple partners will increase the risk of HPV infection. Also, getting an HPV vaccination before exposure to HPV can help reduce developing oral cancer.

  • Age

Mostly, people older than 45 years are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. However, as mentioned earlier, younger people are now at risk.

  • Gender

Statistics show that men are highly likely to develop oral cancer than women.

  • Poor Nutrition

If your diet is low in vegetables and fruits and has a vitamin A deficiency, you can be at an increased risk of developing oral cancer.

The Takeaway

Several risk factors that lead to the development of cancer exist. However, it doesn’t mean that you will inevitably develop cancer if you have any risk factors. But it is best if you stop using tobacco and reduce your alcohol intake.

In any case, visiting our dentist in Redding, CA, will be very beneficial. Contact us at Riverbend Family Dental to schedule an appointment.