Oral Cancer: The Smokers’ Risk on Oral Health

Oral Cancer Symptoms and Early Detection

Smoking’s effect on oral health can never be overemphasized. While smoking can cause a host of ill effects, like bad breath and gum disease, a more significant risk is threatening – the risk of developing oral cancer, which includes cancer of the mouth, throat, salivary glands, tongue or lip. Let us help you understand why quitting is best.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer to watch out for?

At the start, in its early stages, oral cancer and throat cancer may present symptoms like a toothache, or there may not be any pain felt. More often oral cancer may be far advanced before it is discovered. Here are some of the most common telling symptoms:

  • any swellings, thickenings, lumps, rough spots, crusts, or eroded areas on the lips, gums, cheek, inside the mouth
  • white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth
  • unexplained bleeding in the mouth, unexplained numbness, loss of feeling in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks, or a soreness in the back of the throat
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue, or pain in the jaw
  • hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or voice changes
  • ear pain
  • unexplained weight loss

If you are a smoker, bad breath is an early sign of oral cancer, though it can also affect even non-smokers. Smoking is a major risk factor for the development of oral cancer. Note that cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers. Users of dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and the lips. Note that if it is caught early, oral cancer is much easier for doctors to treat.


Discovering Oral Cancer Early in Bellevue

Regular dentist visits is one of the ways to detect early signs of oral malignancy. Here at Overlake Dental in Bellevue, oral examinations are routine for our patients.