7 Tips To Prevent Oral Cancer
We're about to talk about the chilling "C" word.
It's one of the realities of life that no one likes to talk about.
It's estimated that in 2018 alone, there will be 1,735,350 new cases of cancer.
It's also predicted that cancer will cause 609,640 deaths in the same year.
If you're an American man, you have about a 40% chance of developing cancer in your lifetime, The risk is slightly lower for women, at 38%.
There are dozens of types of cancer you can develop, some more dangerous than others.
Okay, now that we're all a little nervous, let's talk about one particular type of cancer.
And let's talk about what we can do to prevent it.
It's estimated that 51,540 have or will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2018.
It's more common for older people to develop it, but isn't unheard of for younger people to get it.
So what can we do to lower the odds that we are diagnosed with it?
Below are eight things we can do to try to fight off oral cancer.
7 Tips To Prevent Oral Cancer
1. Say No To Tobacco
The longer you use tobacco, the higher your risk of head and neck cancers.
The more often you use tobacco, the greater your risk of head and neck cancers.
The best piece of advice anyone can give you if you are a tobacco user is to quit as soon as possible.
Both smoking and chewing tobacco play a direct role in causing oral cancer.
Chewing, smokeless, and snuff tobaccos that are placed directly in the mouth can create ulcers called leukoplakia that can become cancerous.
Smokeless tobacco also contains chemicals known to damage a gene that protects against cancer.
2. Overload On Fruits And Veggies
Along with quitting any tobacco use, another great piece of advice is to eat a healthy diet.
More specifically, to eat a diet high in fruits and veggies.
A lack of nutrients can cause changes in your mouth that increase your likelihood of developing cancer.
The vitamins and antioxidants found in fruits and veggies not only boost your immune system, but they help protect you.
It's advised to get at least five servings of fruits and veggies a day, and have a wide variety.
Carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squash are especially useful for your mouth.
3. Cook Smarter
When you're cooking your veggies or fruits, be sure not to cook all the cancer-fighting nutrients out of them.
Eat as many of them raw as you possibly can. If you must cook them, stop as soon as they get tender.
Also, if you cook them in oils, it could form cancer-causing substances at high heat.
So try to avoid frying, and instead bake, broil, boil or steam your fruits and veggies.
4. Drink Alcohol In Moderation
You don't necessarily have to stop drinking altogether, but be sure to drink in moderation.
Just like smoking, the longer you use alcohol and the more you drink, the higher your risk for developing oral cancer.
Alcohol changes the body's chemistry that breaks down its defenses against cancer.
If you have more than 3.5 drinks a day, you will increase your risk of oral cavity cancers by two or three times according to the National Institutes of Health.
If you drink on excess and use tobacco regularly, it has a multiplying effect on your risk of cancer.
5. Visit Your Dentist
The dentist is your friend. The best way to be sure you aren't doing anything that could increase your risk of oral cancer is to ask your dentist.
Dentists do more than polish teeth, fill cavities, and yell at you about flossing.
They check everything inside your mouth for growths that could lead to cancer.
They can catch most problems early on which makes things much easier to treat.
You should see your dentist at least once a year. Twice is even better.
Here you can find a Hylan Dentist near you.
6. Do A Monthly Mouth Check
On the months you aren't at the dentist, you can do a monthly self-check.
Get in front of your mirror and say, "AHHHHH."
Look around for ulcers or unusual red or white patches that have been around for three weeks or longer.
Check the top and bottom of your mouth along with your tongue, gums, and the inside of your cheeks and lips.
If you find anything suspicious, call your dentist.
7. Protect Your Lips From The Sun
You can get more than skin cancer from overexposure to the sun. Your lips are also at risk.
Lip cancer is directly related to the ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. If you work outdoors or spend much time outside, you are more likely to develop lip cancer.
If your skin gets sunburnt easily, you need to be mindful of your lips as well.
Try to limit sun exposure between the peak hours of 10 am and 2 pm, and always wear a lip balm with SPF while you're outside.
Reapply it whenever you eat or drink.
Wearing a hat will also go a long way to protect your lips from the sun.
Do What You Can
There's nothing you can do to guarantee that you won't develop oral cancer, but these eight tips will go a long way to help you.
It's always better to be proactive in preventing cancer than it is to be reactive after you've been diagnosed.
If you have noticed anything suspicious in your mouth recently, or you need a check-up, the dentists at Hylan Dental Care are standing by.
Click the button below to schedule your free consultation.