Oral cancer is the 8th most common cancer in the United States. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness about oral cancers and encourage people to take steps to reduce their risk. As with any cancer, oral cancer is very serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
What exactly is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is cancer that occurs in any of the parts of the mouth or oral cavity. It can develop on the floor of the mouth (under the tongue), the roof, inner cheek lining, tongue, gums, and lips. Basically, oral cancer develops on the inside of the mouth.
Oral cancer affects approximately 53,000 Americans each year. Per year, the disease kills around 9,500 people, which equates to nearly one fatality every hour. While oral cancer is a frightening prospect, it is not unavoidable. There are steps you may do to check risk factors and lower your chances of having the condition.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors to Be Aware Of
Oral cancer does not appear out of nowhere. It has a number of warning indications and potential causes. Here are a few danger factors to be aware of if you wish to protect yourself:
1. Use of Tobacco or Alcohol on a Regular Basis
Chewing tobacco is frequently associated with oral cancer. Tobacco contains hazardous, carcinogenic compounds. These can raise the chance of developing mouth cancer.
As a result, your family dentist will advise patients to quit smoking. This helps to keep mouths and teeth healthy. Even if you’ve been smoking cigarettes for years, stopping now will improve your dental health.
2. Human Papillomavirus Presence
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted infection that raises the chance of acquiring certain malignancies. This applies to both women and men. HPV is linked to several types of mouth cancer.
According to current research, men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer. While scientists aren’t sure why being a male over the age of 62 raises the risk of oral cancer and increases your chances of developing it. Avoid this risk by visiting your dentist on a regular basis and taking proper care of your mouth.
As a result, your family dentist will advise patients to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. This helps to keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Even if you’ve been smoking cigarettes for years, stopping now will improve your dental health as well as your overall health.
How to Avoid Oral Cancer
While it is impossible to ensure that you will not develop oral cancer, there are some steps you may take to lower your chances of getting it. These are some examples:
- Maintain good dental hygiene and visit your family dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.
- Exercise for at least 150 minutes each week, or thirty minutes five days per week.
- When going outside, be mindful of UV exposure and wear SPF.
- Consume a diet rich in leafy greens.
- Consume alcohol in moderation.
- Stop smoking right away.
While Oral cancer cannot be 100% prevented, as with any disease, leading a healthy lifestyle can help. If you have questions regarding oral cancer, contact your dentists for answers.