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Top 5 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Top 5 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Oropharyngeal cancers are a group of cancers that develop in the mouth, including the tongue, cheeks, tonsils, gums, and soft tissues. Commonly referred to as oral cancer, over 50,000 Americans will develop it in 2024, according to recent data from the American Cancer Society.

Many factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Understanding these risk factors and prioritizing your oral and general health can help to manage your risk of oral cancer and other dental problems.

Our prosthodontist, Dr. Ramin Mahallati, and our team offer a range of preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry services at our state-of-the-art office in Beverly Hills, California.

Top 5 risk factors for oral cancer

While there are several risk factors for oral cancer, here are five of the most common:

1. Smoking and tobacco use

It probably comes as no surprise that smoking and using tobacco products increases the risk of developing oral cancer. In addition to being a well-known carcinogen, smoking can also increase your risk of other common oral health problems like gum disease.

It can also interfere with your dental treatment, making healing and recovery difficult.

2. Alcohol

Heavy alcohol consumption is also a leading cause of mouth cancer. The risk is even greater when you combine alcohol and tobacco.

3. HPV (human papillomavirus)

The HPV virus is a common sexually transmitted infection. While many people with HPV may not experience any symptoms, the virus is a common risk factor for several types of cancer, including oral cancer.

4. Weak or compromised immune system

Some people with a weakened immune system due to health problems like HIV or receiving an organ transplant may also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. 

Oral cancers may also develop as a secondary form of cancer, even in cases where the principal cancer was treated successfully.

5. Genetics and family history

Like other forms of cancer, a personal or family history of oral cancer can increase your risk, even if you don’t drink alcohol or smoke. Oral cancer rates are also slightly higher in men and older people.

Oral cancer prevention and treatment

Eating a healthy diet, practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding tobacco, and consuming alcohol in moderation are the best things you can do to protect yourself from oral and general health problems, including cancer.

Scheduling regular dental exams and professional cleanings is also crucial to catch oral cancer and other problems as soon as possible when they’re the most treatable.

Scheduling regular dental exams and professional cleanings is also crucial to catch oral cancer and other problems as soon as possible when they’re the most treatable.

For more information about the risk factors, prevention, and treatment options for oral cancer, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mahallati at our office in Beverly Hills.

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