Many dentists are constantly looking to recognize and understand the causes of oral cancer., but the issue is complex. There are five commonly identified factors that may place patients at greater risk of developing these conditions. Here are five of them below
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that is associated with about 9,000 cases of head and neck cancer (specifically those occurring at the back of the tongue, in or around the tonsils) diagnosed each year in the United States.
According to the American Cancer Society, male patients have a twice as high probability of being diagnosed with oral cancer than women. In addition, they have a death rate that is twice as higher as women. These figures are attributed to the higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use among men. In addition, higher HPV rates among young men have been a reference as a factor.
Whether smoked or chewed, tobacco has a dramatic effect on the risks of oral cancer. Pipe smokers also have a higher risk of developing cancer on their lips. In addition, even smokeless tobacco can lead to cancer of the cheeks, gums, and lips.
According to the American Cancer Society, 7 of 10 oral cancer patients have a history of alcohol use, and heavy drinking. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes heavy drinking as having an average of two drinks a day or more. These rates were observed to be higher in men than in women.
Infrequent Dental Visits and Check-Ups
One of the earliest options for treatment and defense against oral cancer is early detection. Every time you visit the dentist, you can assess your tongue, teeth, gums, and every other surface in the mouth. Your dentist is not only checking for plaque buildup and cavities, but also for early signs of oral cancer. If left untreated, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body and become more difficult and costly to manage.
These are just five of the most prominent risk factors associated with oral cancer. Nearly all of these factors stem from lifestyle choices. Patients who choose to over-consume alcohol or smoke are recommended to schedule regular dental check-ups to find early signs of this condition. To schedule one now, contact our dental team today.