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Understanding Oral Cancer Risk Factors: Insights from Patton Smiles | Dentist Near Me

Early detection of oral cancer significantly boosts the chances of successful treatment. At Patton Smiles, our expert dental team in Annapolis is skilled in identifying oral cancer in its earliest stages, ensuring better outcomes for our patients.

While oral cancer can affect individuals of all ages, certain factors elevate the risk. Here are the top seven risk factors associated with oral cancer:

1. Age

Are you in your forties or older? As you age, your risk of developing oral cancer increases. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America notes that most cases are diagnosed around the age of 62, but the average age is trending lower, particularly due to the rise in HPV-related cases among those aged 52 to 56. Regardless of age, regular oral cancer screenings are crucial.

2. Gender

Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women, partly due to higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use. However, the gap is narrowing as more women engage in these behaviors. Additionally, younger men are seeing increased rates of HPV-related oral cancer. Routine dental check-ups are vital for early detection, regardless of gender.

3. Tobacco Use

Smoking or chewing tobacco significantly increases the risk of oral and throat cancers. These cancers can also affect the lips, cheeks, and gums, depending on the type and duration of tobacco use. Even non-smokers should undergo regular screenings, as oral cancer can affect anyone.

4. Alcohol Consumption

About 70% of those 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 for women. Heavy drinkers have more than double the risk of developing oral cancer compared to non-drinkers. Regular consultations at Patton Smiles can help monitor and mitigate this risk.

5. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Each year, at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer in the U.S. are linked to HPV, a sexually transmitted infection. These cases often occur in younger individuals who do not smoke or drink. Thankfully, HPV-related oral cancers generally have better prognoses. Maintaining regular dental visits is essential for early detection and peace of mind.

6. Sunlight Exposure

Prolonged exposure to sunlight increases the risk of lip cancer, particularly for those who work outdoors. Using UV-protective lip balms and scheduling extra dental examinations can help reduce this risk.

7. Diet

Poor nutrition, particularly diets low in fruits and vegetables, is associated with a higher risk of oral cancer. However, even those with healthy diets can develop the disease. Comprehensive oral exams at Patton Smiles can help catch early signs, regardless of your dietary habits.


Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors can heighten the risk, they underscore the importance of regular dental exams for everyone. At Patton Smiles in Annapolis, we are committed to early detection through thorough and regular oral examinations. Contact us today to schedule your comprehensive oral cancer screening and take a proactive step toward your health.

Patton Smiles of Annapolis
Phone: (410) 295-1000
104 Forbes St., Suite 204
Annapolis, MD 21401

Dentist in Annapolis

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Patton Smiles

104 Forbes St. Suite 204
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 295-1000

Providing Dental Care For the Communities of:

Annapolis, Admiral Heights, West Annapolis, Loretta Heights, Eastport, Forest Villa & surrounding areas

Convenient Office Hours:

Monday: 7:00am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Wednesday: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Thursday: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Friday: By Appointment only

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  • America Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American Dental Society of Anesthesiology: ADSA
  • Maryland State Dental Association

Annapolis, MD Dentist

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Dentist in Annapolis

I am very pleased that I found Patton Smiles. My husband and I have received outstanding care and the staff is wonderful! We never have to wait when we have an appointment and all of the staff are very professional and caring. The office is immaculate. I highly recommend this dental practice.

Priscilla P. Admiral Heights, MD Dental Patient

Dentist in Annapolis

I’ve been seeing Dr Patton for several years, he is always smiling and will go above and beyond to help with your needs. The staff is amazing and always helpful. I would and have recommended Patton Smiles to several of my friends who also go there.

Nancy M.

Dentist in Annapolis

By far the best dentist office, service and staff in all of Maryland!! Dr. Patton is great and passionate about his work. The staff is so kind and pleasant to deal with. I’ve referred everyone I know here!

Elaine E.

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104 Forbes Street
Suite 204
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 295-1000