Cancer is never welcome. And especially not oral cancer, which has a high mortality rate unless caught in the very early stages. Unfortunately, it’s painless and sneaky, often going undetected until it’s advanced far beyond what’s successfully treatable. That’s why you should know and conscientiously avoid the risk factors, and routinely undergo a meticulous professional screening by your dentist.
The five most common risk factors for oral cancer are: tobacco use, frequent high quantity alcohol consumption, constant sunlight exposure, habitual cheek or lip biting, or poorly fitting dentures. In fact, 80-90% of oral cancers are found in people who smoke or chew tobacco, drink excessively, or do both…doubling that risk. And anything that causes constant irritation to mouth and lip tissues may eventually result in white patches of leukoplakia, which may experience excessive cell growth, leading to cancer. Our part in fighting this disease, is our thorough screening process: we check for those tell-tale white patches, persistent mouth sores, tissue color changes, spots of pain, tenderness, numbness, or any changes in your bite over time. We’ll also ask about lifestyle habits, difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your tongue. If needed, we’ll order a biopsy to eliminate concern. And your part is to simply avoid the risk factors and be safe, not sorry!