Here’s a scary statistic. The fastest growing segment of the oral and oropharyngeal cancer population is HEALTHY NON-SMOKERS in the 25-50 age range (38). This is completely contrary to the long-time belief that the only people at risk for oral cancer are smokers and tobacco users. We now know that the leading cause of oropharyngeal (back of the tongue, throat, and pharynx) cancers is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) (37). Over 200 strains of HPV exist, 9 cause cancer (another 6 might also cause cancer), and HPV strain 16 (the same strain that causes cervical, anal, and penile cancers) is the main cause for oropharyngeal cancer (38).
At Intown Smile Studio, we use simple saliva tests to check for HPV and “flashlight” oral cancer screening technology. We can measure your risk factors, and we can screen for cancer in its very early stages. In doing so, our patients have the opportunity for more simple treatment procedures and a better survival outlook. Dr. Estep recommends all patients over 25 be saliva-tested for HPV, and she encourages all of her patients have a “flashlight” oral cancer screening once every year (more frequently for patients with risk factors).
Another link to oral cancer is chronic periodontitis (gum disease). Research reveals that a patient who has untreated gum disease increases risk for tongue cancer (39).
These other conditions can be affected by your oral health. Learn more by clicking the links below: