To raise awareness for World Cancer Day on February 4th, we here at Warnervale Dental wanted to give you our best tips for preventing oral cancer. Oral cancer is the tenth most common cancer and can affect anyone and everyone potentially with fatal outcomes.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that leads to tumour formation on any part of the mouth including your lips, gums, tongue, throat, inner lining of the cheeks, roof, and floor of the mouth. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of oral cancer with most found on the tongue and gums for women, and on the floor of the mouth and tongue for men.
Brush and floss your teeth regularly
When you have unhealthy oral hygiene, your immune system is too busy preventing cavities and gum disease that it cannot fight off potential cancer well enough.
Limit your exposure to the sun
We all know that sunscreen is important for preventing skin cancers but how often do you put it on your lips? Your lips are even more sensitive to the harmful UV-A & UV-B rays from the sun than the rest of your body as the skin is thinner and contains more nerve endings.
Your bottom lip is 12 times more likely to be affected than your top tip but don’t worry because there are lots of lip balms and lip sunscreens that you can easily apply to stay safe.
Drink less alcohol
There is a link between the amount of alcohol you consume and the heightened risk of developing oral cancers.
Smoking causes a multitude of different health issues, one of the most prevalent is an increased risk of getting oral cancer. You are actually 5 to 10 times more likely of developing cancers if you smoke than if you don’t. The harmful chemicals contained in tobacco smoke can promote cancer by causing genetic changes in the cells, specifically in your mouth cavity. For more information about the benefits of quitting smoking, click here.
Eat a healthier diet with cancer-fighting foods
Sadly, there is no “cancer prevention superfood” but there is a combination of food varieties that gives small benefits. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables gives you the benefits of antioxidants, fibre, phytochemicals, and weight control. Limiting red meat and avoiding overcooking meat is recommended to help prevent cancer.
An active lifestyle is proven to boost your immune system which in turn helps to prevent cancer.
Go to the dentist every 6 months
Regularly visiting your dentist not only helps maintain your beautiful smile, but it allows your dentist to see potential issues and fix them before they become real problems. You can ask your dentist for an oral cancer screening to be done at your next visit. Book your checkup appointment here.
Conduct regular self-examinations
Just like women regularly doing a self-breast exam, an oral exam is also necessary. Just take a few minutes every month to have a look inside your mouth, you can even buy those small mouth mirrors at most pharmacies to help with this. Be sure to check the back and sides of your tongue. If you see or feel anything suspicious lumps, bumps, tender areas, white, red or grey patches, see your dentist to have it checked.
If you have any concerns about your oral health please book an appointment with us here.
Australian Dental Association
Oral Cancer Foundation