Common Signs Of Oral Cancer You Should Be Aware Of

Oral Cancer, Michigan Maxillofacial Surgery and Implant

A healthy mouth is important for a healthy body and life. Your oral health is often the first sign of other health problems. Oral cancer can develop at any time, and as with other cancers, the earlier it is detected, the better your chances are for beating it. Learning to recognize the signs of oral cancer could save your life.


The term “oral cancer” refers to all cancers that develop in and around the mouth. It includes cancers of the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, and the roof and floor of your mouth. The exact causes of oral cancer aren’t clear, but there are some factors that put you at increased risk for developing cancer of the mouth.


The Mouth Cancer Foundation reports that nearly 90% of people with oral cancer use tobacco of some kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco. Heavy alcohol use has also been linked to increased risk of oral cancer. Your age and eating habits can also put you at risk.


At Michigan Maxillofacial Surgery and Implant, William Schiro, DDS, and his team are trained in identifying early-stage oral cancers. Here, we share things to look for in your regular oral cancer self-examinations to help keep you healthy.

Sores, lumps, or swelling

Mouth sores are a sign that something is wrong. If you have a mouth sore that bleeds easily or doesn’t heal, you should make an appointment with Dr. Schiro immediately. Hardened lumps and growths inside your mouth can also indicate oral cancer. Abnormal growths and sores should be evaluated if they haven’t healed in two weeks.

If you wear dentures and the dentures no longer fit due to swelling, this could be a sign of oral cancer as well. Additionally, remember that adults should not lose teeth. If you have teeth that are loose or have fallen out, it’s a sign that your mouth needs medical attention.

Pain that doesn’t go away

Pain in your gums, teeth, or tongue can indicate the start of cancerous growth. Oral cancer can also cause pain beyond the area of your mouth. If you suffer from ear pain without hearing loss, developing cancer might be to blame. A lingering sore throat or pain on the insides of your cheeks can also be a sign of cancer.

For any persistent mouth or facial pain, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with Dr. Schiro. Mouth pain can be the result of anything from a cavity to an abcess to oral cancer, all which require professional evaluation and treatment.

Difficult or painful jaw movement

Oral cancer can affect your ability to move your jaw. If you’re suffering from persistent jaw pain and stiffness, or you find you have difficulty moving your mouth to talk or chew, you should seek attention. You shouldn’t ignore jaw pain that interferes with your life and lasts for more than two weeks.

If you experience any of the above symptoms or any other abnormal condition of the mouth, be sure to bring it to our attention. While these symptoms don’t always mean you have oral cancer, a full examination will help Dr. Schiro accurately assess your health and propose a treatment plan.

Following a proper dental hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing twice per day, and scheduling regular dental cleanings are two of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy.

Dr. Schiro and his team at Michigan Maxillofacial Surgery and Implant are here to help keep your mouth healthy and maintain your overall well-being. For your first appointment, call our office today.

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