Poor Oral Hygiene and Oral Cancer

The Connection Between Poor Oral Hygiene and Oral Cancer

By Dr. Eraldo Fejaz, January 29, 2024.

Table of Contents

In our fast-paced lives, it’s common for us to overlook the importance of taking reasonable care of our teeth. With the demands of work and family responsibilities, it’s easy to prioritize other aspects of our lives over our oral health. However, recent research has highlighted the alarming fact that neglecting our oral hygiene can lead to severe health consequences, one of which is oral cancer. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of oral cancer, understanding what it is, its symptoms, the factors that raise the risk of developing it, and the crucial role that maintaining good oral hygiene plays in preventing this potentially devastating disease.

Exploring Oral Cancer

Let’s begin by unraveling the mystery of oral cancer. Oral cancer occurs when specific cells in our mouth start to behave abnormally. These cells grow and multiply uncontrollably instead of carrying out their usual functions. This unregulated growth can harm the healthy tissues surrounding them. The oral cavity comprises various parts, such as the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, and throat, all of which are potential sites where oral cancer can develop.

Understanding the Relationship Between Oral Hygiene and Oral Cancer

Now, let us connect the links between oral cleanliness and oral cancer. Neglecting adequate oral hygiene routines considerably raises the chance of acquiring oral cancer. When we fail to practice excellent dental hygiene, dangerous germs can collect in our mouths, causing various oral health complications. Over time, this can produce an environment that promotes the growth of aberrant cells and the spread of oral cancer.

The Crucial Role of Oral Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is our first line of defense against oral cancer. This involves brushing our teeth regularly with toothpaste, flossing to remove food particles and plaque buildup, and attending routine dental check-ups. These simple yet essential habits help ensure that our mouth remains clean and free from harmful bacteria. Keeping our oral environment healthy can significantly reduce the risk of oral cancer.

Prioritizing Oral Health

In our busy lives, it’s essential to prioritize our oral health alongside other commitments. Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to severe consequences, including oral cancer. By taking the time to care for our teeth and gums, we maintain a beautiful smile and safeguard our overall well-being.

In the following sections of this blog, we will further explore the symptoms and risk factors associated with oral cancer, shedding light on how early detection and proactive oral care can significantly prevent this potentially life-threatening disease.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

Spotting oral cancer can be tricky because its symptoms can look like other mouth and throat problems. The most common signs include sores or lumps in the mouth that won’t go away, constant mouth pain, loose teeth, strange white or red patches inside the mouth, trouble swallowing or chewing, lumps in the neck, and bad breath that won’t go away. While we don’t know exactly what causes oral cancer, some things can increase the chance of getting it:

Tobacco use: Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco are substantial risk factors for mouth cancer.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol: Drinking excessively raises the risk of mouth cancer.

Family history: If someone in your family has had oral cancer, your chances of developing it may increase.

HPV Infection: An increased risk of mouth cancer has been associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Sun Exposure: If you don’t protect your lips from the sun, you run the risk of developing lip cancer.

Poor Oral Hygiene and the Risk of Oral Cancer

A study done in India and reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found a strong connection between not taking care of your oral hygiene and having a higher chance of getting oral cancer. The study discovered that people who didn’t maintain good oral hygiene, especially those who used chewing tobacco, had a much greater risk of developing oral cancer.

The most important lesson from this study is that practicing good oral hygiene can significantly reduce the risk of oral cancer. This means brushing your teeth several times daily with toothpaste, visiting the dentist regularly, and trying to keep as many teeth as possible.

The study also showed that other things like using tobacco and having an unhealthy diet can also increase the risk of oral cancer. So, keeping your mouth clean, quitting smoking, avoiding chewing tobacco, cutting down on alcohol, and eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies are all excellent ways to lower the chance of getting oral cancer.

Preventing Oral Cancer with Dental Check-ups

Oral cancer can harm your teeth, gums, tongue, lips, and throat. If it’s not treated, it can even spread to other parts of your body. Dental professionals, like those at Kirkland Family Dentistry in Kirkland, Washington, are trained to find and diagnose oral cancer during regular check-ups. Going to the dentist regularly is vital in preventing oral cancer.

During your dental visit, the experienced team at Kirkland Family Dentistry can explain why poor oral hygiene can lead to oral cancer and advise you on how to keep your mouth healthy. By looking after your oral health, you can significantly reduce your risk of getting oral cancer and enjoy a brighter, healthier smile for years. Don’t delay; prioritize taking care of your oral hygiene today.


Oral cancer is when some cells in your mouth start behaving abnormally, growing and spreading uncontrollably. It can harm the tissues in your mouth.

Look out for persistent sores or lumps in your mouth, ongoing mouth pain, loose teeth, unusual white or red patches inside your mouth, difficulty swallowing or chewing, neck lumps, or persistent bad breath.

Your risk of developing oral cancer might be increased by poor dental hygiene, mainly if you use tobacco. Maintaining a healthy and clean tongue can help lower this risk.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, smoking, binge drinking, having a family history of the disease, and prolonged sun exposure on the lips are additional risk factors for oral cancer.

Dental professionals can spot signs of oral cancer during routine check-ups. They can also guide on maintaining good oral hygiene, which is crucial in reducing the risk of oral cancer. Going to the dentist regularly is a vital part of prevention.


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