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Oral Cancer: Should You Be Concerned?

Family Dentist in Jarrell, Texas
Family Dentist in Jarrell, Texas
Family Dentist in Jarrell, Texas
Family Dentist in Jarrell, Texas
Oral Cancer: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention
April 11, 2024

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer, often called mouth cancer, can grow in nearly any area of the mouth, including the gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, under the tongue, and on the inside lining of the cheeks.

How Does Oral Cancer Develop?

Oral cancer develops when abnormalities occur in the DNA of the cells in your mouth, causing them to proliferate instead of dividing normally. The accumulation of these aberrant cells can lead to tumor formation. They have the potential to metastasize, or spread, to other regions of the body as well as the mouth as they progress.

Should You Be Worried About Oral Cancer?

You might be worried that a lump or sore in your mouth that hasn’t healed after a few weeks could be an indication of oral cancer. Read on to find out what signs and symptoms are most often associated with oral cancer, what puts you at risk for getting the disease, and what you can do to lower your risk of acquiring it.

Early Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

If any of the following symptoms last longer than two weeks, you should see a doctor immediately:

  • Any growths or tumors inside your mouth that persist despite treatment.
  • Any growths in your neck’s lymph glands that you can’t explain and which won’t go away.
  • Spots that are white or reddish within your mouth.
  • Oral hemorrhage, numbness, or discomfort.
  • The inability to speak, eat, or open and close your mouth normally.
  • An inexplicable loss of one or more teeth.
  • A tooth extraction site that still hasn’t healed.
  • Experiencing discomfort or difficulty swallowing.
  • Problems with speaking or changes to your voice.
  • Pain in the ears.

What are the Causes of Oral Cancer?

Your chance of getting mouth cancer increases in the following situations:

  • The use of any form of tobacco, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco
  • Drinking to excess
  • Prolonged or intense exposure to the sun
  • The HPV virus and its human counterpart
  • Reduced immunity

How do I Prevent Oral Cancer?

There is no foolproof way to avoid developing oral cancer, but you can lessen your chances by following these guidelines:

  • Stay away from cigarettes and other tobacco products. Quit smoking immediately if you use tobacco products.
  • If you’re a man under 65 years old, limit yourself to two drinks per day; if you’re a woman or over 65 years old, limit yourself to one drink per day.
  • Steer clear of prolonged or intense sun exposure. While you’re out in the sun, remember to protect your lips with sunscreen, cover your entire face with a wide-brimmed hat, and seek out shade wherever possible.
  • Reduce weight.
  • See your dentist regularly for checkups and to find out more about any dangers.


Oral cancer is one of the fastest spreading cancers. Going for routine checkups can help you get it caught in the initial stages. If you are in Jarrell, Texas, you can go for oral cancer screening at Jarrell Dental Care to rule out the presence of oral cancer.