What is oral cancer Oral cancer or mouth cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. It can occur in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, gums, lips, inner cheek lining, the floor and the roof of the mouth. It can appear as an uncontrollable growth of cells. Signs of oral cancer may be red sores or white and red speckled patches in the mouth. These kinds of sores often bleed or show no signs of healing. Another symptom may be a lump, growth or thick spot in the lining of the cheek. Someone with oral cancer may also experience loose teeth, ill-fitting dentures, pain in the tongue or jaw or while chewing or swallowing, or a sore throat. Oral cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA of cells on your lips or in your mouth. As the healthy cells die, more cancer cells divide and continue to grow in number because of the DNA mutations. As the cells expand more and more they form a tumor and can spread to other parts of the mouth and entire body. Heavy alcohol consumption, the use of tobacco, a virus called HPV, exposing your lips to too much sun, and a weak immune system can all contribute to the cause of mouth cancer. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent oral cancer. Don’t use any kind of tobacco. Limit your alcohol intake. Include many fruits and vegetables in your diet. Protect your lips from the sun by staying in the shade, or use a lip product that contains sunscreen. Practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist at least twice a year.