Using chewing tobacco or cigarettes on a regular basis has also been linked to oral cancer, though those the types of cancer are often more focused on the interior of the mouth. If you use tobacco products often, we recommend that you perform an oral cancer check often, even once a month. A thorough examination should be performed by your dentist during every check-up, as well. Keep reading to learn about oral cancer and what to look for when checking for signs of it.
Who is at risk for oral cancer?
Though some people are more at risk to develop oral cancer, anyone can be at risk. It’s important to receive regular cancer screenings regardless of if you regularly use tobacco or not. That being said, if you are male the chances of you getting oral cancer are much higher than if you are female. Also, like other cancers, the chances of getting oral cancer increase as you age. 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 excessively, the chances of you getting oral cancer increase dramatically.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Cancer can look very different, depending on where it is located on the body. 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
- Sore(s) in your mouth that do not heal
- Pain in the mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
- Changes in your voice
- Weight loss
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
What happens if my doctor finds oral cancer?
Treatment will vary depending on your specific situation and your dentist’s discretion. Medication, radiation, or surgery may be recommended, though your dentist will discuss your particular issue and the options that may work best for you during your consultation.
If you are especially at risk for oral cancer, we recommend performing monthly checks to keep track of any changes in your mouth. If you do notice changes, please call us right away at (208) 322-1112 to schedule a consultation.