Welcome to Enchanted Smiles, the specialized
dental care
you can trust to create a confident smile
and change your life.

Open Hours : M: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. T: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
W: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Th: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  Contact : 785-783-0741

Am I at risk for Oral Cancer? Know the Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Caracioni and her team are highlighting the importance of oral cancer screenings. Many people assume that if they don’t smoke or chew tobacco that they aren’t at risk for developing oral cancer. And while it’s true that refraining from these risky behaviors does lower your risk, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate it entirely. Here are several risk factors for developing oral cancer:

  • Gender (men are more predisposed to oral cancer than woman)
  • Age (two thirds of people with oral cancer are 55 and older)
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • HPV diagnosis
  • Poor diet with a low beta-carotene intake
  • Genetic predispositions/mutations like fanconi anemia or dyskeratosis congenita

Oral cancer can be particularly dangerous as it often goes undetected until the disease has advanced rather significantly. In some instances, it’s not until patients are exhibiting very obvious symptoms that the disease is often discovered. Patients may dismiss sporadic mouth or jaw pain as stress-related or may not notice other symptoms. Some patients don’t experience any kind of pain or discomfort, making it that much easier to overlook. If you are exhibiting any of the following symptoms, contact your dentist immediately:

  • Red or white spots in your mouth or on your lips
  • Oral swelling
  • Jaw or tongue pain
  • Difficulty or pain moving your mouth, tongue or jaw
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness anywhere in your mouth
  • Lumps or thick patches in or around your mouth or throat

 

Knowing the signs and symptoms can aid in early detection of oral cancer. Make sure you are visiting your dentist at least once a year for a routine exam, cleaning and oral cancer screening. To schedule your yearly appointment, call our office today at 785-783-0741.