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2 Easy Ways to Lower Your Risk of Oral Cancer

We know that flossing is an important oral health habit that not everyone is committed to.  In fact, only 16% of Americans say they floss once a day.

Why the low number?

People tend to think that flossing is too time-consuming. Or, quite frankly, they just forget to do it. Unfortunately, non-flossers don’t understand the cause-and-effect relationship between flossing and overall health.

Did you know that poor oral health is linked to the development of cancer? Or that oral cancer kills roughly one person per hour, 24 hours a day?

Researchers compared behaviors of individuals who developed oral cancer and those that did not. They saw that people who did not develop cancer did two easy things:

  • They went to the dentist regularly.
  • They flossed at least once a day.

One summary of this research states that individuals who went to the dentist less than once a year had nearly twice the risk of developing non-HPV oral cancer than those who went once a year or more. Additionally, individuals who didn’t floss daily had over twice the risk of developing non-HPV oral cancer than those who flossed more.

How Oral Cancer Forms

Oral cancer can develop in your throat, lips, mouth, tongue, cheeks, and more. More than 90% of oral cancer is caused by the cells of the throat and mouth mutating (changing) or altering. Cell mutation can be caused by:

  • genetics
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • sun exposure
  • weakened immunity
  • alcohol consumption
  • tobacco consumption
  • or a combination of these

What Does Oral Cancer Look Like?

If you or someone you love suspects they may have oral cancer, visit your dentist and doctor if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks. Symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • lip or mouth sore that isn’t healing
  • white or reddish patches inside the mouth
  • a growth or lump in the mouth
  • difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • loose teeth
  • mouth or ear pain

Dental visits help catch cancer in the mouth before it’s developed into something more harmful. In fact, we are one of your first lines of defense to prevent oral cancer. Tell us about any problems you have when chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your tongue and jaw.

Remember, it’s never too late to start flossing and improving your oral health. Even with minor decay, regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits can potentially reverse any damage inside your mouth and lower your risk for oral cancer.


THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.