Oral cancer is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if it’s not caught in its earliest stages. You can identify some causes of oral cancer on your own, but the best way to protect yourself from oral cancer is to know the risk factors, change your behaviors to ensure that you aren’t putting yourself at risk, and see the dentist regularly to catch oral cancer before it spreads. Here’s what you need to know about oral cancer.
Factors that Increase Oral Cancer Risk
Oral tobacco use greatly increases the risk of oral cancer. In fact, approximately 85% of head and neck cancers are linked to oral tobacco use. Other factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:
- Gender. Men are more likely to get cancer than women.
- Alcohol use. Alcohol consumption, especially when combined with tobacco use, can increase the chances of cancer.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV). Studies show that infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) can increase the risk of oropharyngeal cancer.
Knowing the symptoms of oral cancer can help you know when it’s time to see a doctor. Symptoms include:
- Sore that won’t heal, either on your lip or in your mouth.
- Difficulty or even pain while swallowing.
- Any unusual growth in your mouth.
- Red or white patch in your mouth.
- Unexplained pain in the ear or mouth.
If you’ve noticed one or more of these symptoms, see your dentist or doctor to be assessed.
Actions for Prevention
There are many things you can do to prevent oral cancer. Since the use of tobacco and consumption of alcohol are two of the major risk factors that can increase the chances of getting cancer, one of the things you can do to prevent yourself from getting oral cancer is to stop using tobacco products and curb your consumption of alcohol. Tobacco products include:
- Chewing tobacco
If you do drink alcohol, maintain moderate consumption levels – less than 8 drinks per week if you’re a woman and less than 15 drinks per week if you’re a man.
Another way that you can protect yourself from oral cancer is by seeing the dentist on a regular basis. Although your dentist cannot stop you from getting oral cancer, your dentist can identify oral cancer in its early stages.
This is helpful because oral cancer is easier to treat before it’s started to spread. Your dentist will know the signs of oral cancer and can recommend that you get a diagnosis from a doctor.
Take Care Of Your Oral Health – See a Dentist at Weninger Dentistry
Take care of your oral health by visiting the dentist at Weninger Dentistry. We can monitor your oral health, clean your teeth and help you maintain clean, beautiful teeth. Call today to make your semi-annual appointment.