Oral Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention Tips
What you need to know and how we can all help bring awareness to the disease.
For decades, those typically diagnosed with oral cancer were over 45 and/or heavy users of tobacco. However, in recent years, the risk factors associated with oral cancer have significantly changed and affect people from a variety of age groups and lifestyles. While the use of tobacco and the consumption of excessive alcohol contribute to developing oral cancer, exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV) is also an important risk factor.
Each year, we have watched numbers for those diagnosed with oral cancer grow larger at rapid rates. While the numbers are frightening, I want to inform you that there is hope. With early detection and proper treatment, oral cancer can be beaten. At Great Expressions Dental Centers, we have a strong and qualified team of trained professionals that help identify and treat chronic oral illnesses every day.
We can all do our part in raising awareness and helping prevent oral cancer. Oral cancer screenings are quick, painless and non-invasive. At the age of 18, dental patients should be screened for oral cancer annually. According to a report by Vigilant Biosciences more than 81 percent of adults in the U.S. would like to be screened for oral cancer at every check-up, but only 29 percent actually get screened. Implementing oral cancer screening regularly will help your dentist detect any issues early on, helping to keep you healthy and aware of your oral health.
Additionally, to help reduce your risk for oral cancer, I recommend that everyone implement the following practices into your daily routines.
- Examine your mouth monthly for sores and symptoms
- Eat cancer-fighting foods (e.g., beans, berries, dark leafy vegetables, etc.)
- Avoid tobacco products
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation
- Exercise frequently
- Visit your dentist regularly
Schedule an exam and oral cancer screening at Great Expressions today.