Though you may think that cigarettes are no longer cool, the truth is many people still smoke. And using chewing tobacco or cigarettes on a regular basis has been linked to oral cancer. If you use tobacco products on a regular basis, we recommend that you perform an oral cancer check often at home, around once a month. A thorough examination should be performed by your dentist during every check-up, too. Keep reading to learn about oral cancer and what to keep an eye out for.
Who is at risk for oral cancer?
Though some people are more at risk of developing oral cancer, the truth is, anyone can be at risk. You should receive regular cancer screenings if you smoke or not. That being said, if you are male, you do run a higher risk of getting oral cancer than if you are female.
Like other cancers, the chances of getting oral cancer rise as you age. If you are above the age of 55, for example, then you are also at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you smoke cigarettes, use chewing tobacco, or even consume alcoholic beverages excessively, the chances increase dramatically.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Cancer can look and act differently depending on where it is in the body. Make sure to keep track of any physiological changes in your mouth when examining for oral cancer, like:
- A lump in your cheek
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Problems moving your jaw or tongue
- Changes in your voice
- Weight loss
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Loose teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Pain in the mouth
What will happen if my doctor finds oral cancer?
Treatment will vary, depending on your specific situation and what you and your dentist agree on. Medication, radiation, or surgery may be recommended. Your dentist will discuss with you the particular issue and the best treatment options during your consultation.
If you are at a higher risk for oral cancer, we recommend performing monthly checks to take note of changes in your mouth. If you do notice changes, please call us right away at (701) 839-1299 to schedule a consultation. We can help identify oral cancer and help develop a treatment plan.