November 9, 2020
When you think about the health of your smile, you generally are thinking about tooth decay and periodontal disease. But do you know if you are at higher risk of oral cancer? This refers to cancer that develops in any parts that make up the oral cavity. This can occur on the lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, roof, and floor of the mouth. Continue reading to learn more from a family dentist in Lakeway about the risk factors of oral cancer and some of the warning signs of this disease.
What Factors Put You at Risk for Oral Cancer?
No one is quite sure exactly what causes oral cancer to occur, but it has become apparent that certain factors do play a role in increasing your risk. Here are the most common:
- Using Tobacco Products: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and the use of smokeless or chewing tobacco is one of the most well-known risks of oral cancer. In fact, about 90% of people who have oral cancer use tobacco products.
- Heavy Alcohol Use: If you are a heavy drinker, you are much more likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer. If you also use tobacco, this is even higher.
- Sun Exposure: Excessive sun exposer to the lips increases the risk of oral cancer.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV): This type of cancer can be linked to HPV. It is generally found in the back of the throat, the base of the tongue, and in the tonsils.
- Being Older Than 45: This type of cancer can develop at any age, but people who are older than 45 have a higher risk.
What Are the Signs of Oral Cancer?
Symptoms of this type of cancer are different for everyone, but here are some of the more common signs:
- Mouth sores
- White or red patches
- Swelling of the neck
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Weight loss
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Lump in the cheek
- Difficulty moving jaw or tongue
How Can You Minimize Your Risk for Oral Cancer?
Fortunately, cancers of the mouth are fairly preventable. Here are a few ways that you can reduce your risk:
- Quit using tobacco products
- Eat a balanced diet
- Practice excellent oral hygiene
- Only drink alcohol in moderation
- Limit sun exposure
- Use an SPF lip balm
- If you have dentures, remove them every night and clean them daily.
Even though oral cancer can be deadly, by taking the steps listed above, you can lower your risk. Remember to see your dentist for regular screenings of oral cancer in Lakeway so any signs can be identified as soon as possible.
About the Practice
At Eaddy Dentistry, you have two skilled family dentists. Dr. Winston Eaddy has been working in the dental field for more than four decades, and he is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and Texas Dental Association. Dr. Daniel Eaddy pursued his DDS from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry, and he has received advanced training at the VA in all specialty areas of dentistry. They perform oral cancer screenings as part of a regular checkups. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (512) 263-4252.
No comments yet.
RSS feed for comments on this post.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.