Oral Cancer Risk Factors | Dentist Near Me

At Smile On Dentistry, we prioritize your health with thorough dental examinations that include screening for oral cancer. Early detection is crucial, as most forms of oral cancer are highly treatable when caught early. Our skilled team is trained to recognize the signs of oral cancer, ensuring you receive the best possible care.

While oral cancer can affect anyone, certain factors can increase your risk. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer:


If you’re in your mid-40s or older, your risk for oral cancer increases significantly. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, most diagnosed cases occur around age 62, though recent increases in HPV-related cases have lowered the average age to between 52 and 56. Regular screenings are essential at any age to catch oral cancer early.


Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer, partly due to higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use. However, this gap is closing as more women engage in these activities. Additionally, younger men are increasingly being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should have regular oral health exams to detect cancer early.

Tobacco Use

Using tobacco products, whether smoking or chewing, greatly increases your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can cause cancers in the mouth, throat, cheeks, gums, and inner lips. The risk is proportional to the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Even if you don’t use tobacco, regular dental exams are crucial.

Alcohol Consumption

Heavy drinking is linked to about 70% of oral cancer cases. 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 cancer compared to non-drinkers. However, oral cancer can still occur in those who do not consume alcohol, making regular check-ups important.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a significant risk factor, associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer annually in the United States. Those with HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and typically do not smoke or drink. These patients also have a lower risk of death and recurrence. Regular dental visits are a proactive measure to maintain your health.


Prolonged exposure to sunlight increases the risk of lip cancer. Using UV-protective lip balm and scheduling regular dental exams are vital if you work outdoors frequently.


A diet low in fruits and vegetables can elevate your risk for oral cancer. Nonetheless, even those with a healthy diet can develop the disease. Regular dental examinations are essential, regardless of your dietary habits.

Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors can increase your risk, regular dental examinations are crucial for everyone. At Smile On Dentistry, we are committed to early detection and comprehensive care. Schedule your oral examination with our family dentist in McKinney today to ensure your oral health is at its best.

Contact us at Smile On Dentistry to book your comprehensive oral examination and stay proactive about your health.

Smile On Dentistry of McKinney
Email: info@smileondentistrytx.com
Phone: 4694053080
3935 S Lake Forest Dr Suite 110
McKinney, TX 75070

Smile On Dentistry