According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 54,000 cases of oral cancer are expected in 2022 alone. While this large number may be worrying, it’s important to remember that proper prevention and knowing what can cause this condition can make all the difference in lessening your risk of developing it. Read on to learn about the risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer as well as how to minimize your chances of developing it.
9 Common Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Though studies is still being done on the intricacies of oral cancer, researchers have been able to determine some of the most common risk factors. Things like using mouthwash, irritation from dentures, and poor oral health are unproven or controversial risk factors. A few things that have been proven to increase one’s chance of developing oral cancer include:
- Genetic syndromes, like Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenita
- Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products
- Human papillomavirus infection (HPV)
- Spending too much time in the sun
- Consuming alcohol in excess
- Being biologically male
- Being overweight
- Being 55 or older
- Poor nutrition
9 Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If any of the above things relate to you, it’s important to know what signs of oral cancer to look out for. This will help you detect the condition in its early stages. Some common signs include:
- Red or white patches on your tonsils, gums, or the lining of your mouth
- The feeling of something being caught in your throat
- Trouble moving your tongue or jaw
- Persistent halitosis (bad breath)
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- A lump in your cheek
- Consistent oral pain
- Neck swelling
- Mouth sores
How to Prevent Oral Cancer
Fortunately, cancer of the mouth is largely preventable. One way to lessen your risk of developing is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice and flossing once daily. Limiting sun exposure and wearing sunscreen whenever you go out is also beneficial. If you smoke cigarettes or drink a lot of alcohol, work on cutting out these bad habits. Additionally, eat a balanced diet of dentist-approved foods like dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, fish, and nuts like almonds and cashews.
Along with these methods of oral cancer prevention, make sure to visit your dentist every six months for checkups, cleanings, and oral cancer screenings. Though these methods aren’t guaranteed to keep oral cancer at bay, they may help you maintain a healthy mouth and a bright smile!
About the Practice
Led by Dr. Donald F. Tamborello, Dr. Holly Boone, and Dr. Christopher Devlin, Tamborello Dental Associates takes pride in helping their Houston patients achieve the healthy smiles they deserve. During your biannual checkups and cleanings, they will perform an oral cancer screening so the condition can be detected in its early stages. This will make it easier to treat and allow you to keep your smile looking lovely for years to come. Call Tamborello Dental Associates at (713) 522-7540 or visit their website for more information on their services or to set up an appointment.