4 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

March 9, 2021 Grandville Dental Health Center

oral cancer screening grandville dental health center

Routine dental examinations every 6 months are important as they monitor the overall health of your gums, teeth, and mouth. However, did you know that oral cancer screenings are just as, if not more, important?

Yes, with oral cancer screenings our Grandville dentists can detect certain forms of mouth and throat cancer in its early stages. This is crucial as a prompt detection can potentially prevent the cancer from getting worse and could save your life.

Common risk factors for the development of oral cancer include the use of tobacco products, an overconsumption of alcohol, a family history of cancer, and high sun exposure.

Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Noticeable lumps, bumps, or rough spots on the lips, gums, or other areas of the mouth.
  • Velvety white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth.
  • Unexplained bleeding inside of the mouth.
  • Unexplained ear pain.
  • Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and don’t heal.
  • Soreness in the throat.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Difficulty speaking or moving the jaw and or tongue.

It is recommended that you receive an oral cancer screening at least once a year. However, if you notice the onset of any of the symptoms above, please make an appointment to see our dentists immediately.

Continue reading to learn more about what can increase your risk of oral cancer.

Use of Tobacco Products

Did you know that if you smoke cigarettes or cigars regularly, you are 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer than a nonsmoker? Tobacco is a known carcinogen, meaning it contains chemicals that cause cancer in living tissue.

Your chances of developing a type of mouth cancer only increase if you use tobacco products like dip or chewing tobacco. In fact, you are actually 50 times more likely to experience cancers of the gums, cheeks, and lining of the lips.

Using tobacco products of any kind are especially harmful to your oral health and can result in complications involving your entire mouth.

Excessive Consumption of Alcohol

Alcohol is to be enjoyed in moderation. If too much is consumed on a regular basis, new health issues can arise. One possible issue of course: oral cancer.

If you abuse alcohol, you are putting yourself at risk for a myriad of health complications. Compared to those who do not drink, oral cancers are around 6 times more likely to develop for those who do. Alcohol consumption combined with tobacco use can also increase your risk for cancer of the mouth.

Family History

The presence of cancer in your family can affect your chances of developing it as well. If there is a notable history of oral cancer in your family tree, it is wise to have a screening performed each time you visit our dentists. That way, we can keep an eye out for symptoms if they materialize.

High Sun Exposure

You’ve heard of excess sun exposure causing skin cancer but did you know spending long periods of time in the sun can also impact your chance of developing mouth cancer?

There is greater risk if exposed regularly at a young age but adults should be advised as well. Lack of sun protection on the lips, like SPF lip balm, can result in cancerous lesions forming there.

Schedule Your Screening Today

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and feel that you would benefit from an oral cancer screening, please do not hesitate to visit our office. Our experienced dentists in Grandville, MI, can conduct an examination of your entire mouth to determine if you are showing signs of oral cancer.

Contact us online to request an appointment or call us today at (616) 531-0360.

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