oral cancer risk factors

Oral Cancer: Are You At Risk?

Oral Cancer Awareness Month- Know your risk

Ever wondered why the dentist asks you to stick out your tongue during a dental cleaning? It might seem silly, but this quick check is a screening for oral cancer. Screenings can help save your life because early detection is vital.
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports and estimated 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. A fifth of those cases will result in death.

As part of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want you to take charge of your oral health by knowing the risk factors for oral cancer. Contact our practice if you have concerns about your oral health.

Tobacco use

Any kind of tobacco use (cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco) can increase your risk for developing oral cancer and other serious health issues. Kick the habit and reduce your risk.

Alcohol use

The American Cancer Society reports that seven out of 10 with oral cancer are also heavy drinkers.

The Male Factor

Men are at a higher risk for developing oral cancer than women. Many believe this statistic is due to higher rates of tobacco and  alcohol use among men.


The American Cancer Society reports that most cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in people age 55 and older.

Human Papilloma Virus

HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, can cause cancer in the at the back of the tongue or in or around the tonsils. HPV-related cancers cases have increased in recent years, especially in younger people. The HPV vaccine also can be preventive measure.

Sun exposure

We often think of protecting our skin from the sun, but don’t forget about your lips. If you work or spend a lot of recreational time outdoors, you can develop lip cancer. Limp balm with UV protection and hats can help limit some sun exposure.

Charlotte Dentist and staff