What Causes Oral Cancer and Prevention Tips?

What Causes Oral Cancer and Prevention Tips?

January 1, 2023

What Is Oral Cancer?

It is the presence of cancerous cells in the oral cavity and the surrounding areas. Oral cancers can occur inside or outside the mouth. You can have different types of oral cancer, including the following:
  1. Lip cancer
  2. Throat cancer
  3. Salivary gland cancer
  4. Tongue cancer
  5. Palatal cancer – cancer of the roof or floor of the mouth
  6. Gingival cancer

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of Oral Cancer?

There is no specific cause of oral cancer. If anything, anyone can get oral cancer regardless of age and gender. However, some factors can increase your risk of getting oral cancer, including the following:
  1. Smoking and other tobacco usage – smokers are 50%more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers.
  2. Family history – if some people in your family have had oral cancer, you are at a high risk of getting it too.
  3. A previous cancer diagnosis – even though you are in remission after any other type of cancer, you are a high-risk patient for oral cancer.
  4. High consumption of alcohol for a prolonged period
  5. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection – is a sexually transmitted infection that is common for people that indulge in oral sex.
  6. Excessive sun exposure without proper protection

How Do You Know If You Have Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer manifests different symptoms depending on the severity of the infection. Some of the indicators of oral cancer are:
  1. A persistent lip or mouth sore that does not heal
  2. A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth.
  3. A growth or lump inside your mouth
  4. Dental pain
  5. Ear pain
  6. Difficulty swallowing due to pain or swelling.
  7. Loose teeth that can start shifting or falling off
  8. Hoarse voice and a sore throat
A noteworthy thing you should know is that it can be hard to distinguish oral cancer symptoms from other dental problems like gum disease. It is why you need to visit an oral cancer screening dentist for a few tests.

What Is Oral Cancer Screening?

It is a dental exam that evaluates your mouth to detect any precancerous cells that may point to oral cancer. Oral cancer screening in Spring, TX, is a preventive measure that dentists employ to help detect oral cancer early. Ideally, the dentist looks over the inside of your mouth to check for any signs of precancerous cells. Do not mistake oral cancer screenings for treatment. The screenings will not make your cancer go away. Instead, it helps identify any anomalies that can point to oral cancer. After a cancer screening, your dentist will further evaluate your cells if you have any signs of oral cancer. You will need new tests to diagnose you before starting treatment.

How Often Should You Have Oral Cancer Screening?

Dentists are yet to agree on the benefits of routine oral cancer screenings for everyone. Usually, an oral cancer screening dentist will recommend getting the test at least once annually. However, at Immediate Smiles, we have found that the screening is more beneficial to patients with a high risk of getting oral cancer. Depending on how high the risk for the cancer is, we may recommend getting screened once or more every few months. Besides, dentists generally agree that people over the age of 20 should have a screening every three years, while adults over 40 should have annual screenings.

Can You Prevent Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer can affect anyone, but the risk factors aggravate the overgrowth of the cancerous cells. Therefore, if you can apply a few preventive tips, you can significantly lower your risk of oral cancer. Some of the tips to prevent oral cancer are:
  1. Quit smoking. If you haven’t started, do not start.
  2. Cut back on alcohol. It is better to avoid taking alcohol altogether.
  3. Go heavy on fruits and vegetables – the vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables up your immune system to lower the risk of oral cancer and other dental infections.
  4. Use sun protection when outside. Use umbrellas, creams, and lotions that protect your skin and lips from harmful sun rays. UV-AB-blocking sunscreens are the best for avoiding excessive sun exposure.
  5. Get vaccinated for human papillomavirus.