When it comes to canker sores and oral cancer, many people are unsure of which is worse. In this blog, we will compare and contrast canker sores and oral cancer and help you decide which is the lesser of two evils. Canker sores can be painful and annoying, but they are not a serious health threat. Oral cancer, on the other hand, can be deadly if not treated properly. So which is worse: canker sore vs. oral cancer? Read on to find out!

What Are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are small, painful ulcers that can form on the inside of your mouth. They can make eating and talking difficult and can be quite painful. Canker sores are not contagious and usually go away on their own within a few weeks. Although canker sores can be a nuisance, they are not a serious health threat.

What Causes Canker Sores?

  • Canker sores are not contagious and can’t be passed from one person to another.
  • Most canker sores are caused by an injury to the mouth, such as biting your cheek, brushing your teeth too hard, or wearing braces. 
  • Hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, or pregnancy can make canker sores more likely.
  • Canker sores can also be triggered by stress, a weakened immune system, nutritional deficiencies, hormones, or certain medications. 
  • In rare cases, canker sores can signify another underlying medical condition, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or Behcet’s disease.

Want to get rid of canker sores and mouth ulcers? These effective home remedies will surely work. 

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a severe oral condition that can be life-threatening if not treated properly. Oral cancer can form in the mouth or throat and spread to other body parts if left untreated. Oral cancer is usually treatable if caught early but can be fatal if it spreads.

Canker Sores VS. Oral Cancer 

  • Canker sores are not contagious, while oral cancer can be.
  • A canker sore usually causes pain, but oral cancer may or may not be painful.
  • Canker sores go away on their own, usually within a week or more, while oral cancer can stay indefinitely
  • Canker sores are not a serious health threat, while oral cancer can be deadly.
  • Canker sores look like white or yellow ulcers with a red border, while oral cancer can appear as a white or red patch in the mouth.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer:

The most common symptom of oral cancer is a sore or ulcer that won’t heal. Other symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the mouth or ear
  • A lump or mass in the mouth, cheek, or neck
  • White or red patches on the gums, tongue, or mouth’s lining
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Loose teeth
  • Numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth
  • Changes in voice, such as hoarseness
  • A persistent sore throat
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained weight loss

See your dentist or doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve your chances of beating oral cancer.

What Increases The Risk Of Getting Mouth Cancer?

The American Dental Association states smoking, and chewing tobacco are the most significant risk factors for all types of oral cancer, including gum cancer. Other risk factors can include:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • A history of cancer in the mouth or throat
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV)

If you have any of these risk factors, be sure to see your dentist or doctor for regular checkups. They can help spot oral cancer early when it’s most treatable. We at Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics can help you with canker sore prevention and treatment! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. Our dentists will evaluate your condition to determine if you have oral cancer or mouth ulcers and provide you with the appropriate treatment.