Does smoking lead to oral cancer?
Yes, smoking is a major cause of cancers in the mouth. It is the single biggest risk factor.
Even when cancer is not present, dentists can often detect changes in the lining of the mouths of young smokers. When these changes become pronounced they predispose to cancer. The mucosa becomes hard and white and develops corrugations. Such areas should be observed routinely and are one more reason why people should have regular dental check-ups.
Detecting and treating precancerous lesions and early cancers is vital in improving survival rates.