Some signs of mouth cancer include a sore that does not heal, red or white patches, tongue pain, loose teeth and feeling like something is caught in the throat, according to Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include a painful lump inside the mouth and difficult or painful swallowing or chewing.
Any symptoms that last more than two weeks should be checked out by a doctor, Mayo Clinic advises. A physician can rule out other more common conditions that create the same symptoms.
Risk factors for oral cancer include using tobacco products of any kind, such as cigars, snuff or chewing tobacco or cigarettes, Mayo Clinic explains. Heavy alcohol use is also a factor, as well as the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease. Lip cancer can be caused by too much sun exposure.
People can prevent mouth cancer by avoiding tobacco products and drinking in moderation, Mayo Clinic says. Tobacco exposes the mouth to dangerous chemicals, and alcohol irritates the cells, making them vulnerable to cancer. Wearing a hat and sunscreen can prevent lip cancer. It is believed that eating a diet high in antioxidants can help prevent mouth cancer. The diet includes nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits. Regular dental appointments are critical in finding mouth cancer early.