Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, and the roof and floor of the mouth.
Cancer that occurs on the inside of the mouth is sometimes called oral cancer or oral cavity cancer.
Oral cancer is one of several types of cancer grouped in a category called head and neck cancers. Oral cancer and other head and neck cancers are often treated similarly.
There’s no proven way to prevent mouth cancer. However, you can reduce your risk of mouth cancer if you:
Stop using tobacco or don’t start. If you use tobacco, stop. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. Using tobacco, whether smoked or chewed, exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.
Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all. Chronic excessive alcohol use can irritate the cells in your mouth, making them vulnerable to mouth cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of mouth cancer.
Avoid excessive sun exposure to your lips. Protect the skin on your lips from the sun by staying in the shade when possible. Wear a broad-brimmed hat that effectively shades your entire face, including your mouth. Apply a sunscreen lip product as part of your routine sun protection regimen.
See your dentist regularly. As part of a routine dental exam, ask your dentist to inspect your entire mouth for abnormal areas that may indicate mouth cancer or precancerous changes.
At OakHeights Dental Oral cancer screening is done as part of the routine dental exam.