Oral cancer is a significant health concern, with around 54,000 new cases predicted in the US this year, and a 40% chance of a poor long-term prognosis. Though healthcare has advanced, a cure for oral cancer remains elusive, and late detection can make it challenging to treat. Educating oneself on the condition, including risk factors, warning signs, and prevention tips, can help prevent or detect it early on. Continue reading to learn more about oral cancer and potential risk factors.
Common Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Oral cancer can affect every part of your mouth, from your lips and teeth to your throat and tonsils. Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing this disease, including:
- Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption
- Exposure to sun or radiation
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
- Other types of head or neck cancer
- Weakened immune system
- Old age
- Chronic bad oral hygiene
5 Tips for Minimizing Your Risk of Oral Cancer
There are many proactive measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. Surprisingly, it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Here are some ways to minimize your risk:
- Don’t smoke – Smoking is associated with various health problems that can impact your oral health and overall health.
- Maintain optimal oral health – Regularly brush and floss your teeth, use antibacterial mouthwash, and schedule dental checkups with oral cancer screenings to detect any signs of the disease.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle – To enhance your immune system, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet that includes adequate vitamins and nutrients, engage in regular exercise, and limit your intake of sugary and starchy foods.
- Drink plenty of water – Drinking water is essential for maintaining good oral health, as it promotes the flow of saliva that helps to protect your teeth and gums from harmful bacteria.
- Protect your mouth – To protect your lips and face from harmful sunlight, it is recommended to apply SPF lip balm when outdoors and to consider wearing a hat.
7 Common Warning Signs to Watch For
If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s important to contact your dentist without delay. While they may seem minor at first, any of these symptoms could indicate a more significant underlying problem. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Bleeding from unusual, easily aggravated growths
- Difficulty biting, chewing, speaking, or swallowing
- Red, black, pink, or white mouth or tonsil sores
- Swelling in your neck, throat, or mouth
- Chronic halitosis
- Loosened teeth
- Cheek lumps
As we observe Oral Cancer Awareness Month, it is important to take any warning signs seriously without hesitation or doubt. Your smile is an integral part of your overall well-being, so it’s important to keep it in good condition
About the Practice
Dr. Beverly Rose leads Exceptional Dentistry, a Melbourne-based dental practice providing a variety of personalized dental services. They offer routine checkups, oral cancer examinations, and other treatments aimed at keeping your mouth healthy. Their team is committed to delivering exceptional dental care to every patient to keep their smiles as healthy as possible. To schedule an appointment or learn more about oral cancer screening, call Exceptional Dentistry’s office at (321) 265-3286 or visit their website.