Oral cancer is not one that is typically top of mind when you hear about cases of cancer, like with breast or colon cancer. Its awareness month is not widely known, yet it is on the rise. Do you know your personal risk? Learning how poor oral hygiene can lead to oral cancer may reduce your risk.
Stats About Oral Cancers
Oral cancers are medically known as oral cavity cancers or oropharyngeal cancers. The American Cancer Society has released information for the most recent estimations in the US for 2022. They expect 54,000 new cases of oral cavity cancers and 11,230 deaths.
These occur most often in the tongue, tonsils and gums, floor of the mouth or other parts of the mouth. The average patient is age 63, but these cancers can occur in younger adults. 20% of cases occur in those younger than 55. There are twice as many cases in men.
In the last 20 years, there has been a specific increase in human papillomavirus (HPV) as the cause.
Main Risk Factors
There are a number of risk factors for developing oropharyngeal cancer. Risk factors are anything that can increase your chances of getting the disease.
Your mouth has gobs of bacteria which need to be removed daily or it travels into your bloodstream and the rest of your body. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once per day will keep the bacteria, food particles and other nasties from remaining in your mouth.
There are multiple effects of poor hygiene including heart disease, bad breath, risk of diabetes, tooth loss, and periodontal disease to name a few.
Other Risk Factors
The next important risk factors include the following: smoking, all tobacco products like chewing tobacco and pipe smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, family history of oral cancers, and the HPV virus.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Know what’s happening in your mouth.
What to look for:
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- A lump that doesn’t go away
- Chronic mouth pain
- Pain in teeth or jaw
- Loose teeth
- White or red patches
- Chronic bad breath
See Dr. Robinette in Hickory, NC on a regular basis for cleanings and checkups which can determine if there is a problem. Brush and floss as recommended.
Contact Dr. Robinette at 828-267-0651 today if you need to schedule a cleaning and dental checkup.