Those at the highest risk of developing oral cancer are people who smoke tobacco and drink alcohol, chew beetle quid or ‘pan’, as is popular in the Indian communities or have had exposure to a HPV virus. Elderly men are twice as likely to develop the disease as women. World wide, oral cancer, usually squamous cell carcinoma, is the 6th most common type of cancer as reported by WHO with it being the No 1. type of cancer in India.

You can look out for signs of the condition at home when you are brushing or by examining your mouth in the mirror and feeling for swellings with your finger. The floor of the mouth and the lateral borders of the tongue are common areas for oral cancer. Dentists are well trained to spot these symptoms. The risk of oral cancer should act as another incentive to regularly visit the dentist for an examination. If you notice bleeding from your gums, swelling or red/white patches in the mouth, ulceration, or even ‘extraordinarily -mobility’ from one tooth, you should make an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later.

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