Every year, thousands of Canadians are diagnosed with some form of oral cancer. While certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking or excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s odds of developing oral cancer, unfortunately anyone can be diagnosed with oral cancer. The good news is that, when caught in its early stages, there is a good chance that oral cancer can be treated. For this reason, at every cleaning and exam appointment our dentist here at our Richmond dental office performs a careful oral cancer screening. During this appointment, Dr. Oliveros will check a patient’s your face, neck, lips, tongue, and gums for any signs of oral cancer. In addition, diagnostic x-rays (radiographs) will be done to find and tumours or unusual growths which may not be immediately visible.

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

There are several early warning signs of oral cancer. Of course, many of these symptoms can be attributed to other, more benign conditions. However, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms it is advisable to go see a dentist or doctor right away:


  • A sore that doesn’t go away after a few days
  • A bleeding sore on the lips or inside of cheeks
  • A growth or bump on the inside of the mouth or cheeks
  • Tooth pain not attributed to cavities or gum disease
  • Tongue pain
  • Pain in the jaw bone
  • Difficulty swallowing and eating

Preventing oral cancer

Some patients may be genetically predisposed to developing oral cancer. However, there are several things a person can do to minimize their risk such as:

  • Wearing a lip balm containing SPF when going out in the sun
  • Drinking no more than 1 or 2 alcoholic beverages per day
  • Refraining from or quitting smoking
  • Eating a healthy and well balanced diet

It’s also important to maintain regular dental visits for checkups and exams to ensure that, if oral cancer does develop, it is caught early. Please contact our office if  you would like to book an appointment for a cleaning and exam.