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Tobacco Usage and Oral Cancer

Ellis Dental Exam
Ellis Dental Exam

We all know the health risks associated with tobacco use. Lung cancer, heart disease and stroke could drastically be reduced or prevented if people stopped using tobacco products. Smoking, dipping and chewing tobacco is also the number one risk factor when it comes to oral cancers. Over 40,000 people annually will be diagnosed with an oral cancer and age of the patient generally determines the cause of the cancer. For example, the majority of younger non-smoking adults contract oral cancer from the human papilloma virus (HPV), while for the rest of the population, some form of tobacco use is the main culprit.

While tobacco rates here in the United States are declining as more of the population is becoming educated on the dangers of tobacco use, many researchers and scientists in the public health sector are still pushing to have tobacco declared an illegal substance by the year 2040.

Unfortunately stopping smoking is easier said than done. In fact, studies have shown tobacco addiction is harder to kick than heroin. In spite of graphic advertising campaigns, doctor and dentist intervention and over the counter stop smoking patches, pills and gums, people still continue to harm their bodies by smoking; and this bad habit affects more than just their health. Second hand smoke is a growing health concern and the main reason more cities, businesses and even hotels and apartment communities are banning smoking.

Oral cancers, like many other forms of cancer can be slow growing and hard to detect. Ellis Dental provides complementary oral cancer screenings as part of every hygiene examination. Our last post listed some of the most common oral cancer symptoms. If you believe you have one of these symptoms or feel as though something just “isn’t right,” please call us today to schedule an appointment. Your peace of mind, just like your oral health, is our first concern.