A Word about Oral Care
Your mouth is one of your body's most important early
warning systems. Don't ignore any suspicious lumps
or sores. Should you discover something, make an appointment
for a prompt examination. Early treatment may well
be the key to complete recovery.
Factors that may cause Cancer
Research has identified a number of factors that
may contribute to the development of oral cancer.
The most common are human papilloma virus (HPV), as well as tobacco and alcohol use.
Others include poor oral hygiene, irritation caused
by ill-fitting dentures, and rough surfaces on teeth,
poor nutrition, some chronic infections and combinations
of these factors.
Studies have shown that the death rate from oral
cancer is about four times higher for cigarette smokers
than for nonsmokers. It is also widely believed in
the medical field that the heat generated by smoking
pipes and cigars irritate the mouth and can lead to
Those at an especially high risk of developing oral
cancer are over 40 years of age, heavy drinkers and
smokers, or users of smokeless tobacco, including
An oral examination is performed using bright light
and a mirror:
When performing an oral cancer self-examination, look
for the following:
See your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon if you have
any of these signs. If the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
agrees that something looks suspicious, a biopsy may
be recommended. A biopsy involves the removal of a piece
of the suspicious tissue, which is then sent to a pathology
laboratory for a microscopic examination that will accurately
diagnose the problem. The biopsy report not only helps
establish a diagnosis, but also enables the doctor to
develop a specific plan of treatment.