Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, can develop for a variety of reasons. It is a complex condition influenced by multiple factors, and often it is the result of a combination of these factors. Some of the primary reasons behind the development of mouth cancer include:
- Tobacco Use: Smoking and chewing tobacco are major risk factors for mouth cancer. The chemicals in tobacco can damage the cells in the mouth and lead to cancerous changes over time.
- Alcohol Consumption: Excessive and long-term alcohol consumption is another significant risk factor. The combination of heavy alcohol use and tobacco use further increases the risk.
- HPV Infection: Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly HPV-16 and HPV-18, have been linked to the development of oral cancer. HPV-related mouth cancers are more common in younger individuals.
- Sun Exposure: Prolonged and excessive exposure to sunlight can lead to lip cancer, especially in individuals with fair skin.
- Diet: A diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in processed foods may increase the risk of mouth cancer. A diet that lacks essential nutrients can weaken the body’s ability to fight off cancer cells.
- Oral Hygiene: Poor oral hygiene and chronic irritation, such as from ill-fitting dentures, can increase the risk of oral cancer. The presence of long-standing oral sores or lesions may also contribute.