Our office performs a thorough oral cancer screening at every routine cleaning appointment. Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth. It can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, cheek lining, tongue, and the hard or soft palate. Oral cancer most often occurs in those who use tobacco in any form. Alcohol use combined with smoking greatly increases risk of oral cancer. Prolonged sun exposure increases the risk of lip cancer. Regular dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.