Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a nicotine user to get oral cancer. In fact, many cases of oral cancer are caused by the certain strains of the HPV virus, which is a sexually transmitted disease, and the rate of people who get oral cancer from the virus is expected to outnumber those who get cervical cancer by 2020. So just because you don't smoke doesn't mean you are in the clear. Here are signs of oral cancer you should be aware of so you can see your dentist right away if you have concerns.
Canker sore that won't go away
Canker sores are a common mouth malady and occur in the gums and tongues of their victims. You can get a canker sore from certain foods or from stress. They typically go away on their own within a short while. If you have a canker sore that lingers or gets larger and more painful with time, see your dentist so you can have it examined as oral cancer often presents itself with nasty mouth sores.
Numbness in your mouth
Another sign of oral cancer is numbness around your lips or in your mouth. If you have canker sores and numbness, or even white patches on your tongue, gums, or inner cheek lining of your mouth, you should see your dentist right away. The sooner you have signs of oral cancer checked out, even if you don't have cancer, the sooner you can be treated for your condition.
You are a male and/over 50
Studies have shown that males are twice as likely as females to get oral cancer, and all individuals over age 50 are most at risk for the disease. While you may not show any other signs of the oral disease other than being in the most at-risk demographic for it, it's best to see a dentist in your area to give you a thorough exam to catch any early symptoms before they have a chance to spread.
You have smoked or currently smoke
If you smoke on a regular basis or you have smoked in the past (or have used chewing tobacco) you may be at a higher risk for oral cancer than a non-nicotine user. You may have a clean bill of health with your regular doctor, but seeing a dentist as part of your health routine is the best way to check for any signs of oral cancer.
Talk with a dentist in your area for more information.