Anyone can develop oral cancer. However, it is most common in patients over the age of 45. It’s also more common in men than in women. In addition to age and sex, certain lifestyle factors can also increase your risk of oral cancer. People who smoke tobacco, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, or who have generally poor nutrition should get screened for oral cancer. People with a history of UV light exposure should also get screened. This light exposure can be from tanning beds, working outdoors, or simply spending large amounts of time outside.
Whether you have risk factors or not, an oral cancer screening is always a good idea. Screenings are quick and simple, so they are easy to incorporate into your dental routine. Screenings begin with a visual/physical exam of the mouth, tongue, and gums. Dr. Garza will look for abnormalities and make sure everything feels normal. They can then use tools, such as light devices and oral brush biopsies, to further inspect the mouth.
Early-stage oral cancer usually presents without symptoms. However, it’s important to get any abnormalities checked just in case. If you have new or worsening mouth ulcers, unusual bad breath, or unexplained oral pain, then see a professional. They can evaluate your mouth to treat the problem quickly.