6 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Sticking out your tongue at your dentist might seem a little silly or juvenile, but it this simple check could save your life. At our routine dental cleanings, we ask patients for permission to do an oral cancer screening. Early detection is key fighting oral cancer.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, an estimated 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and a fifth of those cases will result in death.

Take charge of your oral health by knowing the risk factors for oral cancer listed below. As always, don’t forget to 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. You can help reduce your risk by kicking the habit.

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.

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

Human Papilloma Virus- A sexually transmitted disease, HPV can cause cancer in the at the back of the tongue or in or around the tonsils. HPV-related cancers cases are on the rise, especially in younger people. The HPV vaccine also can be a 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