Lower Your Risk of Oral Cancer


July 4, 2020

Oral cancer is a serious and potentially deadly disease that affects thousands of people every year. The good news is that there are many steps you can take to lower your risk of developing oral cancer. 

What is Oral Cancer? 

Oral cancer, also referred to as mouth cancer, is a form of cancer that can develop on the lips, tongue, gums, or cheeks. It usually starts as a small, painless bump or sore that persists. Pain, trouble swallowing, and other symptoms could appear as cancer spreads.

Numerous things, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being exposed to adverse weather conditions, and the human papillomavirus, can lead to oral cancer. (HPV). Men, older adults, and those with a family history of the illness are more likely to develop it.

Oral cancer near you is frequently treatable if detected promptly. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a mix of these treatments are all possible forms of treatment. Additionally, altering your lifestyle to stop using tobacco, drink less alcohol, and maintain good oral hygiene can help reduce your chance of developing oral cancer. For early diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer, routine dental exams and screenings are also crucial.

Signs Of Oral Cancer

Common signs of oral cancer include:

  • Difficulty moving the mouth, swallowing, talking, or chewing
  • Feeling as though your larynx is being choked
  • Flat tissue spots with a velvety appearance 
  • Soft tissue that seems to be scaly, getting thicker, or crusted
  • Continually recurring sores
  • Swelling of the lips, throat, chin, or mouth
  • Unusual lumps
  • Persistent ear discomfort
  • Constant neck pain
  • Discomfort or sensitivity in the lips or tongue
  • Sensation in the mouth and gums
  • Abnormal alterations in voice

How to Reduce the Risk of Oral Cancer

There are many steps you can take to lower your risk of developing oral cancer including:

Quit smoking and using tobacco products

One of the biggest risk factors for mouth cancer is tobacco use. The most important thing you can do for your oral and overall well-being is to stop using tobacco products, whether you smoke cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, or any other product. To get assistance quitting, speak to your doctor or a tobacco cessation expert.

Limit alcohol consumption 

Excessive alcohol consumption can raise your chance of oral cancer. If you decide to consume alcohol, do so cautiously. For women, this means a daily limit of one drink and for males, a daily limit of two drinks.

Protect yourself from sun 

Your chance of lip cancer can rise if you spend too much time in the sun. When you are outside, protect your lips by applying an SPF lip balm, a hat, and eyeglasses.

Get vaccinated against HPV

A sexually spread virus called HPV has been associated with oral cancer. The HPV vaccine is secure and successful in avoiding HPV infection. If you want to know if you need HPV immunization, consult your healthcare provider.

Routine dental checkups

Regular dental exams can aid in the early detection of mouth cancer. Your
dentist near you will inspect your mouth and, if they find anything unusual, they might advise further screening tests.

Practice good oral hygiene

Maintaining good oral health can help avoid oral cancer. Use fluoride-containing mouthwash, floss every day, and brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste.

Lowering your risk of oral cancer in North York is possible by making simple lifestyle changes and practicing good oral hygiene. If you have any concerns about your risk of oral cancer, speak with your doctor or dentist. Remember, early detection is key, so make sure to attend your regular check-ups and screenings.


  • How is oral cancer typically diagnosed?

Only an examination is capable of conclusively identifying whether oropharyngeal or oral cancer is present. Before beginning treatment, a sample of tissue or cells is always required to prove a cancer diagnosis. Various biopsies may be used, based on the circumstances of each case.

  • What are the main types of oral cancer?

Types of oral cancer include squamous cell carcinoma, lymphoma, minor salivary gland carcinoma, verrucous carcinoma, and melanoma. If you have any concerns or notice any unusual symptoms in your mouth or throat, it’s important to consult your doctor or dentist for an evaluation.

  • What type of doctor should I see if I think I have oral cancer?

Your dentist will refer you to a specialist if there’s a possibility that you have cancer. Surgeons of the head and neck or the oral and maxillofacial region are these specialists. They are also referred to as otolaryngologists or ENT physicians.

There are many steps you can take to lower your risk of developing oral cancer. Quitting smoking and using tobacco products, limiting alcohol consumption, practicing good oral hygiene, protecting yourself from sun exposure, and getting vaccinated against HPV are all important ways to reduce your risk. By making these lifestyle changes and taking preventive measures, you can help protect your oral health and reduce your risk of developing oral cancer.

If you have any concerns, experience changes in oral health or want to learn more about how you can lower your risk of developing oral cancer visit Underhill Dental and consult with our expert dentist in North York.