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Oral Cancer Risk Factors & Prevention | United Concordia

Know the Risk Factors and Take Action to Help Prevent Oral Cancer


Though it’s possible to develop oral cancer with no identifiable causes, there are several known factors that can increase your risk. The Oral Cancer Foundation cites that the two greatest risk factors are drinking alcohol – especially large amounts and/or on a regular basis – and using tobacco. The risk is even greater for those who do both.

In addition to alcohol and tobacco use, other risk factors include:

While oral cancer is not always preventable, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing the disease by following a healthy lifestyle and addressing any risk factors. Some ways to prevent oral cancer include:

  • Limiting your alcohol intake
  • Quitting smoking
  • Visiting the dentist regularly for routine exams
  • Wearing protective clothing, lip balm with SPF and sunscreen while outdoors – this is especially important if you have fair skin
  • Avoiding tanning beds
  • Using protection during oral sex to prevent HPV
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Making sure dentures fit properly
  • Following your physician’s advice to monitor and treat any pre-cancerous growths


1. Oral Cancer; National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; September 2016

2. Oral Cancer Facts; The Oral Cancer Foundation; February 2017

3. About Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer; American Cancer Society; 2017

4. Oral Cancer; Prevent Cancer Foundation

5. Precancerous Condition of the Oral Cavity; Canadian Cancer Society