Below are a few steps that you can take to know if you’re at risk, as well as what you can do to protect yourself and ultimately, prevent oral cancer.
Who Is At Risk?
Studies have shown that men are three times more likely to suffer from oral cancer compared to women. The risk rate also increases in both men and women who smoke and/or regularly consume alcohol. Also, those who are frequently exposed to the sun or ultra-violet lights are more likely to develop oral cancer.
It has also been speculated that the human papilloma virus or HPV can increase one’s risk for oral cancer, especially if it’s transmitted through the mouth such as through oral sex.
It is worth noting that oral cancer is a type of cancer that’s often diagnosed late, when the likelihood of successful treatment is already very low.
Preventing Oral Cancer
As said earlier, early detection can play a huge role in the successful treatment of oral cancer. Though, it would be marginally better to prevent oral cancer and the good news is that it is possible to do just that.
Here are a few steps that you can take to prevent oral cancer, or at the very least, increase the chances of detection while it is still in its early stages.
- Brush your teeth and floss regularly. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes and flossing helps keep your mouth healthy at all times. A healthy mouth is crucial in making sure that your immune system is able to fight off potential cancers.
- Limit your alcohol consumption and avoid binge drinking. A drink or two is fine, more than that is already too much and can put you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco. Both casual and chain-smokers are at a higher risk for developing oral cancer than those who don’t
- Go out and stay active. Your immune system benefits greatly from living an active lifestyle, which can help boost your chances against oral cancer, as well as other health complications.
- Don’t stay out in the sun too much. When was the last time you ever thought about protecting your lips from the harmful rays of the sun? Using UV-A/B-blocking sun protection on your lips can help a lot. You’ll find lots of over-the-counter products that are the same size as lipsticks that should help provide much needed protection your lips. Though, it would be better and much simpler to limit your exposure to the sun, especially from 8 AM to 9 AM onwards.
- Eat healthy. Eating healthy has been known to provide a variety of benefits to the human body, including the immune system. In particular, you’ll want to munch more regularly on green, leafy vegetables, beans, berries, flaxseed, grapes, green tea, soy, and tomatoes because of their cancer-fighting properties.
- Do a monthly check of your mouth yourself. For women, do it as often as you would do your breast self-exam. For men, do it every month. Regardless of which gender you are, examining your mouth for possible signs of oral cancer won’t take too long. All you have to do is to simply buy a handy mouth mirror and check your mouth, especially the back and sides of your tongue, for lumps, bumps, tender areas, white and red or gray Visit your dentist immediately if you see or feel anything suspicious.
- See your dentist Professional oral cleaning definitely plays a huge role in helping you maintain a healthy mouth. However, an even more important reason to visit your dentist regularly is to have an oral cancer screening conducted.
Following these steps can go a long way in making sure that your mouth is healthy and free of oral cancer.
If you would like to schedule an oral cancer screening, contact, Dr. Graham Farless, DDS at 336-282-2868 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gsodentist.com for more additional information regarding oral cancer.