Signs of Oral Cancer: Explaining Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Mar 27, 2024

Roughly 63% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are still alive 5 years following their diagnosis. Oral cancer, or sometimes referred to as mouth cancer or oral cavity cancer, describes cancer that develops in the mouth, which includes the gums, tongue, lips, cheek lining, roof of the mouth, and under the tongue. Fortunately, this condition is relatively rare as only around 11 out of 100,000 people develop oral cancer during the course of their lifetime. Below we explore common causes, symptoms, and treatments of oral cancer so that you best know how to combat and prevent this lethal condition.

Causes of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer starts in the squamous cell in your oral cavity and become cancerous when their DNA changes and begins multiplying. Over time, these cancerous cells can spread to all areas inside the mouth. According to the American Cancer Society, 70% of those who are diagnosed with oral cancer are men. In particular, men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk of developing oral cancer. Seeing how an estimated 50,000 people in America are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, let’s explore some it’s common causes:

  • Family History: Developing cancer can be a hereditary likelihood, as families with a history of oral cancer are much more prone to be diagnosed.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smokers are more than six times likely to develop oral cancers when compared to nonsmokers. Additionally, tobacco products such as dip or chewing tobacco are fifty times more likely to develop mouth cancers.
  • Old Age: Due to the fact that oral cancers can take years to grow, most people discover their diagnosis after the age of 55.
  • Excessive Sun Exposure: Ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays, from the sun can cause lip and mouth cancers.
  • An Unhealthy Diet: Researchers have found a link between mouth cancers and diets which lack fruits and vegetables.
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Individuals who chronically drink alcohol are more than six times likely to develop oral cancers than nondrinkers.
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus): Those with this sexually transmitted disease are more likely to develop mouth cancers.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral cancers show several symptoms that can be mistaken for other common changes or problems in your mouth. It’s important that you’re diagnosed by a medical professional, however, here are some early symptoms to look out for that may indicate signals of oral cancer:

  • Swelling, lumps, crusts, or rough spots on the lips, gums, cheeks, or any other area inside the mouth.
  • White, red, or speckled patches in the mouth.
  • Numbness, or loss of feeling, in any area of the mouth.
  • Pain or tenderness in the mouth that doesn’t heal in week.
  • Unexplained bleeding from the mouth.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing due to a soreness in the throat.
  • A chronically sore throat or voice hoarseness.
  • Swelling or pain in the ears or jaw. 
  • Change or misalignment of your bite.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Treating Oral Cancer

When visiting your doctor to determine whether or not you have oral cancer, they may conduct a physical exam, an endoscopy, a biopsy, or run imaging tests to diagnose your cancer. Like other cancers, oral cancer is treated with surgery where they’ll remove the cancerous growth. Post-operation, recovering individuals will undergo radiation therapy and chemotherapy to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Once recovered, it’s important to prevent the reoccurrence of mouth cancer by:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Refrain from smoking, using tobacco products, or drinking alcohol.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun.
  • Practice optimum oral health by flossing and brushing your teeth twice per day.

Practice Optimal Oral Health with GumChucks

Flossing and brushing twice per day is essential to preventing deadly oral health issues such as mouth cancers. Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from between your teeth, flossing regularly also helps keep tartar out of hard-to-reach places. GumChucks’ design ensure a flossing experience that’s faster, easier, and more effective than competing flossers or traditional floss. Our two handles with disposable floss allows you to comfortably reach all your teeth, even those in the back while wrapping the floss around each tooth. This creates the vital “C-Shape” necessary to get below the gum line and effectively clean each tooth.


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