Common Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Around 50,000 Americans get oral cancer every year. Oral cancer includes cancers of the tongue, lips, floor of the mouth, cheeks, hard and soft palate, and sinuses. If you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, such as a sore that does not heal or a lump or bump, you should contact your dentist for the Santa Maria oral cancer exam. Early detection makes treating oral cancer considerably simpler.

Although anyone can get oral cancer, some people are at higher risk than others. Here are the risk factors for oral cancer.

Tobacco use

Perhaps the most well-known risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes or cigars or using smokeless tobacco products like chew or snuff increases your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco contains harmful chemicals that can damage the cells in your mouth and throat, leading to cancerous growth.

If you use tobacco products, quitting is the best thing you can do for your oral and overall health. Talk to your doctor or dentist about resources and support to help you quit.

Alcohol consumption

Oral cancer is more common among alcohol drinkers than non-drinkers. Alcohol can irritate the cells in your mouth and throat, making them more vulnerable to cancerous growths. The risk of oral cancer is even higher when combined with tobacco use. If you drink alcohol, limit your consumption and drink in moderation.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection that can increase your risk of oral cancer. HPV can infect your mouth and throat cells, leading to cancerous growth. While not all cases of oral cancer are linked to HPV, it is becoming an increasingly common cause of the disease.

You can reduce your risk of HPV by practicing safe sex and getting vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is recommended for males and females between the ages of 9 and 45.

Sun exposure

Believe it or not, sun exposure can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. When you spend time in the sun without protecting your lips and mouth, you can damage the cells in your mouth and increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

Wear a lip balm or lipstick that contains SPF 30 or higher to protect your lips from the sun. Also, you can  wear a hat with a brim or use an umbrella to provide shade.

Poor oral hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential for maintaining the health of your mouth and reducing your risk of oral cancer. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, harmful bacteria can accumulate in your mouth and irritate the cells in your mouth and throat, increasing your risk of cancerous growth. Therefore, brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time and floss daily. Also, Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.

Family history

your family history can also influence your risk of developing oral cancer. You may be more susceptible to the disease if you have a family history of oral cancer. While you can’t change your family history, you can take steps to reduce your overall risk of developing oral cancer. This includes maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding tobacco and alcohol use, and practicing safe sex.

Call CaliDental to book your appointment for oral cancer exam.