Checking for oral cancer is a part of the twice yearly check-up.  We check for: a red or white patch, a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal, a thick or hard spot or a lump, a roughened or crusted area.  Pain, tenderness, numbness, or a change in the way your teeth come together are other signs.  Problems with chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your tongue or jaw should also be noted.    Heavy drinking , tobacco, and human papilloma virus places people at risk for oral cancer.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider heavy drinking to be an average of more than two drinks per day for men and more than one drink per day for women.  Oral cancer can only be diagnosed with a biopsy.  The American Dental Association has developed recommendations for dentists to help in checking for signs of oral cancer.