Risk factors for developing oral cancer
Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is a term used to describe the cancers that occur in the mouth. These cancers most commonly affect the lips, tongue and floor of mouth, but can also occur in the cheeks, gums, palate, tonsils and salivary glands. Signs and symptoms of oral cancer can include:
- A lump in the neck, face, or mouth
- Loose teeth
- Swelling or sore on the lip that will not heal
- Changes in speech
- White or red patches in the mouth
- Difficulty or pain with swallowing
- Bleeding, or numbness in the mouth
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dentures, which suddenly do not fit
- An extraction socket, which will not heal
Smoking and alcohol are the two major risk factors for developing oral cancer, but others include HPV, EBV, a family history of oral cancer, poor oral hygiene, sun exposure and betel nut chewing.
We screen for oral cancer in all of our patients at every 6-monthly check up and will refer you to a specialist for further investigation if we are concerned. If you are worried about oral cancer, please make an appointment to discuss your concerns further with one of our dentists.