Understanding Oral Cancer Risk Factors | Dentist Near Me

At Steven D. Strickland, DDS, PC, we prioritize your overall health, which includes being vigilant about oral cancer. During every comprehensive dental examination, our skilled team meticulously checks for signs of oral cancer, as early detection significantly enhances the chances of successful treatment. Everyone is at risk, but certain factors can elevate that risk. Here are the top seven oral cancer risk factors to be aware of:


If you’re in your mid-40s or older, your risk of developing oral cancer increases. Most cases are diagnosed around age 62, but the average age is declining due to an increase in HPV-related oral cancers among people aged 52 to 56. Regardless of age, regular screenings at our Dentist 22192 office are essential.


Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women, a difference partly attributed to higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use. However, the gap is narrowing as more women engage in these behaviors. Additionally, there has been a rise in HPV-related oral cancer cases among younger men. Both men and women should have regular dental check-ups to catch any early signs of oral cancer.

Tobacco Use

Whether smoked or chewed, tobacco significantly heightens the risk of oral cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, cheeks, gums, and lips. The risk increases with the duration and frequency of tobacco use. It’s important to note that non-smokers can also develop oral cancer, so regular examinations with our team are crucial.

Alcohol Consumption

About 70% of people diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. The CDC defines heavy drinking as two or more drinks per day for men and one or more drinks per day for women. Heavy drinkers are more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers compared to non-drinkers. Even if you don’t drink, you should still schedule regular exams with our office to stay proactive about your oral health.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection, is linked to approximately 10,000 cases of oral cancer annually in the U.S. HPV-related oral cancers generally affect younger, non-smoking, non-drinking individuals and have a better prognosis. Regular visits to our dental office can help detect any early signs of HPV-related oral cancer.

Sunlight Exposure

Extended exposure to sunlight increases the risk of lip cancer. If you work outdoors, use UV protection lip balms and consider additional check-ups with our team to monitor for any signs of cancer.


A diet low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of oral cancer. However, even those with a healthy diet can develop oral cancer. Regardless of your nutritional habits, regular comprehensive oral examinations at our dental office are important.

Oral cancer affects everyone, and regular dental exams are vital for early detection. Contact Steven D. Strickland, DDS, PC, today to schedule your comprehensive oral examination and stay ahead in the fight against oral cancer.

Steven D. Strickland, DDS
Phone: 703-494-6811
1720 Financial Loop
Woodbridge, VA 22192

Steven D. Strickland, DDS, PC