Why Is It Important To Know About Oral Cancer?

Why Is It Important To Know About Oral Cancer?

June 1, 2022

According to research, about 11 people in 100,000 will develop oral cancer at some point in their lifetime. Oral cancer or mouth cancer can affect your throat, lips, inner cheeks, mouth floor, gums, or tongue. Fortunately, oral cancer can be treated and reversed if caught on time. If left undetected or untreated, oral cancer can spread throughout the mouth, throat, head, and neck. It will also lead to severe and life-threatening complications, causing the need for expensive and complex treatments.

Regular oral cancer screening gives you the best chance of early detection and successful treatment. Most dentists often perform oral cancer screenings during routine dental exams. If the dentist finds any irregularities or abnormalities, they may schedule additional tests and exams like biopsies to confirm your case.

If oral cancer is identified, the dentist may refer you to a specialist who will give you more information about your situation. After that, they will design a customized treatment plan to restore your oral health. For oral cancer screenings in Redding, CA, contact our dentist at 96001.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Common symptoms of oral cancer to watch out for include:

  • Unexplained mouth bleeding
  • Pain or difficulty when swallowing or chewing
  • Mouth discomfort, pain, or numbness
  • Pain or pressure when moving the tongue or jaw
  • A change in your voice
  • A sore throat that doesn’t go away
  • Swelling in the jaw or mouth
  • Pain in the ear
  • A lump in the throat, mouth, or lips
  • Thickening tissue or lump on the inner cheek
  • Red, pink, or white patches on the tongue, gums, or lining of the mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loosening or falling teeth

Contact a dentist near you for oral cancer screening if you have these or other worrying symptoms.

Risk Factors Of Oral Cancer

Certain factors can increase your chance or risk of developing oral cancer. However, having an oral cancer risk factor doesn’t mean that you’ll develop oral cancer. In fact, many people get oral cancer with few or no known risk factors. Similarly, some risk factors aren’t optional or preventable. For instance, you can’t change your family history or age.

Common risk factors of oral cancer include:

  1. Tobacco products

Tobacco use has been linked to lung, throat, cheek, head, gum, and oral cancers. Most people who develop these cancers have a history of smoking or tobacco exposure. The more you’re exposed to tobacco, the greater the risk. Research also suggests that secondhand smoke can increase your risk of these cancers.

Smoking produces about 7000 chemicals. These chemicals can lead to genetic changes in the cells in your mouth, leading to oral cancer. Tobacco use increases your risk of developing other oral issues like gum disease, jawbone damage, and tooth loss.

If you’ve been diagnosed with oral cancer, it’s essential to quit all tobacco products as they can slower wound healing and inhibit your treatment. This can increase your risk of infections, severe symptoms, and additional cancers.

  1. Excessive alcohol consumption

Heavy alcohol drinkers have a high risk of developing oral cancer than those who don’t. Alcohol can irritate your mouth and throat and cause inflammation. This can result in DNA changes as the damaged cells continually try to repair themselves.

  1. Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption together

People who smoke and drink heavily are about 30 times more likely to get throat and oral cancer than those who don’t drink or smoke. Similarly, the combination is more likely to cause oral cancer than smoking or drinking alone.

  1. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

HPV is a group of 150 plus viruses. These viruses cause a type of growth called papilloma or wart, and so the name papillomavirus. HPV is a key risk factor for cancer like cervix, penis, vulva, vagina, anus, throat, and mouth cancers. HPV infections are popular among young people with a history of multiple sex partners.

  1. Gender

Research shows that men are more likely to develop oropharyngeal and oral cavity cancers than women. This can be linked to more tobacco and alcohol use among men.

  1. Old age

Since most cancers take many years to develop, older patients above 55 years are more likely to be detected with oral cancer than younger people.

  1. Excessive exposure to Ultraviolet light

Excessive exposure to sunlight is a key risk factor for lip cancer. People exposed to long hours of sunlight are more likely to develop lip cancer than those who rarely go outdoors.

  1. Genetic factors

People with a family history of oral cancer or inherited defects like Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital have a high risk of mouth cancer.

Other factors can include:

  • Excessive body weight
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor oral hygiene and health

Schedule an Appointment Today

For more information about oral cancer and oral cancer screening, contact Riverbend Family Dental.