Oral Cancer Risk Factors | Upper Fort Dental

Dentist Downtown Winnipeg


Understanding Oral Cancer Risks and the Importance of Regular Screenings at Upper Fort Dental

At Upper Fort Dental, our team conducts comprehensive dental examinations, which include screening for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is crucial, as most forms of oral cancer are highly treatable when caught early. Our dental professionals are trained to identify early indicators of this disease.

While everyone can be at risk for oral cancer, certain groups face a higher likelihood of developing it.

Here are seven key risk factors to be aware of:

1. Age
The risk of oral cancer increases with age, particularly from the mid-40s onward. The majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but with the rise in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases, the average age is decreasing to between 52 and 56 years. Regular screenings are essential at any age.

2. Gender
Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. This disparity may be related to higher alcohol and tobacco use among men. However, the gender gap is narrowing as more women use these substances. Additionally, younger men are increasingly being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should have regular oral health exams to detect potential issues early.

3. Tobacco Use
Smoking and chewing tobacco significantly increase the risk of oral cancer, affecting the mouth, throat, cheeks, gums, and inner lips. The risk correlates with the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Even non-smokers can develop oral cancer, so regular examinations are critical.

4. Alcohol Consumption
Around 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. The CDC defines heavy drinking as two or more drinks per day for men and one or more drinks per day for women. Heavy drinkers are more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers compared to non-drinkers. Nevertheless, oral cancer can occur in individuals who do not consume alcohol, making regular exams important for everyone.

5. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is linked to at least 10,000 oral cancer cases annually in the U.S. Individuals with HPV-related oral cancers are typically younger and do not smoke or drink. These cases generally have a lower risk of death or recurrence. Regular dental visits are vital for proactive health management.

6. Sunlight Exposure
Prolonged exposure to sunlight increases the risk of lip cancer. Using UV protection, such as lip balms with UV filters, is essential for those who work outdoors. Additional dental check-ups can help monitor for early signs of cancer.

7. Diet
Poor nutrition, particularly diets low in fruits and vegetables, is associated with a higher risk of oral cancer. However, even those with healthy diets are not immune. Comprehensive oral examinations are necessary for everyone, regardless of dietary habits.

Oral cancer does not discriminate, and regular dental exams at Upper Fort Dental can help detect it early. Contact us to schedule your comprehensive oral examination with Dr. Carly Hamilton, and take a proactive step toward maintaining your overall health and well-being.

Upper Fort Dental of Downtown Winnipeg
Phone: 204-783-2288
108-305 Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C3J7