Using chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes on a regular basis has been linked to oral cancer, and those types of cancer are often found on the interior of the mouth. If you use tobacco products often, we recommend that you perform an oral cancer check regularly, even as often as once a month. A thorough examination should be performed by your dentist during every check-up, as well. Let your dentist know if you smoke or chew tobacco, too. Keep reading to learn about oral cancer and what to look for when checking for signs.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR ORAL CANCER?
Though some people have more risk factors of developing oral cancer, anyone can be at risk. It’s important to receive regular cancer screenings whether you regularly use tobacco or not.
Granted, if you are a male the chances of you developing oral cancer are much higher than if you are female. Also, like other cancers, the chances of getting oral cancer increase as you get older. For instance, if you are above the age of 55, then you are also at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you smoke cigarettes, use chewing tobacco, or even drink alcoholic beverages a lot, your chances of you getting oral cancer go up dramatically.
SIGNS OF ORAL CANCER
Cancer can look very different in the mouth, so don’t expect it to look like skin cancer. Make sure to keep track of any physiological changes in your mouth, such as:
- A lump in your cheek
- Increased difficulty eating, swallowing, or chewing
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
- Changes in your voice
- Weight loss
- Consistent bad breath
- Sores in your mouth that do not heal
- Pain in the mouth
- Difficulty eating
If you are especially at risk for oral cancer, we recommend performing monthly checks to stay on top of any changes in your mouth. If you do notice changes, please call us right away at (863) 682-1500 to schedule a consultation.