November is Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, designated to educate the public about the warning signs, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of oral cancer. 

Mouth cancer affects over 200,000 Americans each year with tumors on the surface of the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, or even on the roof of the mouth. 

The Oral Cancer Foundation has found that close to 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year and that oral cancer will cause over 9,750 deaths. The death rate is high because the cancer is often noticed later in its progression, which is why routine dentist visits are crucial. 

Mouth cancer is defined as any cancer that occurs in any part that makes up the mouth. They can develop in any of the following areas:

  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Inner lining of the cheeks
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Floor of the mouth (under the tongue)

Risk factors

Current estimates show that as much as 90% of mouth cancers globally are caused by tobacco use, alcohol consumption, or a combination of both, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. Other leading causes include HPV infection and being overweight or obese.


  • Lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal 
  • A white or red patch
  • A lump that’s growing 
  • Ear or mouth pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficult or painful swallowing


Treatment may include radiation or surgery to remove the tumor. In more serious cases, chemotherapy may be necessary.

Experienced Dentist in Louisville, KY

Mouth cancer is a serious health issue that if caught early can be prevented. That’s why it’s so important to visit your dentist twice a year. Your dentist will be able to detect any unusual growths or discolorations. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you believe you have any of these symptoms of mouth cancer. 

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