In the United States, nearly 100 people receive a diagnosis of oral cancer each day. Mouth cancer includes cancer of any part of the oral cavity, from your lips to the back of your throat. Oral cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, not because it’s not treatable but because it is often detected too late. This makes it critical that you know the facts and symptoms of oral cancer so that you can seek treatment as soon as possible. When it comes to the risk factors of oral cancer, the majority of them are within your control.
Take action by preventing oral cancer with the following:
#1 Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol – Heavy tobacco use, either smoking or chewing, is among the leading causes for oral cancer. In fact, it doubles your risk! Cut back on drinking alcohol and kick your tobacco habit if you want to steer clear of oral cancer.
#2 Brush and Floss Every Day – Diligent oral hygiene can protect your mouth from an oral virus (HPV) that is known to cause oral cancer. It also helps to boost your body’s immune system to fight potential cancers.
#3 Make Healthy Diet and Exercise a Priority – By keeping your body healthy through proper nutrition and exercise, you’ll reap the benefits of a stronger immune system and lower risk for cancer. Research shows that a ‘Mediterranean-style diet’ is best for cancer prevention, which includes fresh vegetables, citrus fruits, olive oil and fish.
#4 Know the Signs – Do you know what oral cancer looks like? Check yourself periodically for red or white patches on the lining of your mouth or tongue. Also take note of any swelling that persists longer than 3 weeks and any ulcers that don’t heal within 10 to 14 days.
#5 Attend Your Routine Dental Exams – While you may not always be able to detect oral cancer at home, your dentist can. At Gilreath Family Dentistry, we perform oral cancer screenings at your routine checkups. It is a quick and painless evaluation that could save your life. Oral cancer that is detected at its early stages shows a 90% survival rate!
If you have further questions about how to prevent oral cancer or want to know whether or not your lifestyle is putting you at risk, please let us know. Our Marietta dental team is committed to helping you feel confident in your oral health.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,