Posted in 20 by Amelia Grant

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a term used to describe cancer that affects the lips, teeth, tongue, gums, and other parts of the oral cavity. Oral cancer is a serious disease that has a higher mortality rate than some other widespread types of cancer. The reason for such high mortality rate is that oral cancer is usually diagnosed at the last stages. The good news is that with proper care you can minimize your risk of mouth cancer. 

Below are 5 effective ways to reduce your risk of mouth cancer and ensure overall health. 

1. Quit smoking

This is an obvious but often ignored way to reduce the risk of mouth cancer. Of course, it can be difficult to quit smoking, especially for those who have smoked for a long time. But here is a thing to consider: over four million people worldwide die because of smoking-related illnesses every year. It is the cause of one out of every five deaths in the United States. Smoking is one of the leading causes of oral cancer. As an extra incentive to quit, smoking increases the risk of cancer for everyone in your immediate environment.

Other tobacco-containing products like chewing tobacco, pipes, and snus aren’t a safer alternative. They can significantly raise your cancer risk as well. If you have difficulty quitting smoking, discuss this with your doctor. 

2. Get vaccinated

Certain viral infections can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. If you want to reduce your risk of oral (and overall) cancer, it is crucial to get vaccinated. The two viral infections that can contribute to the development of cancer are hepatitis B and human papillomavirus. There are several groups of people for whom it is highly recommended to get a vaccine:

  • Adults who are sexually active and often change partners

  • People with sexually transmitted infections

  • People who use intravenous drugs

  • Men who have sex with men

  • Health care or public safety workers who may be exposed to infected blood or body fluids

3.  Visit your dentist regularly

It is crucial to visit a dentist every 6 months for a routine examination. During an examination, the doctor can check your mouth for any abnormal patches, lesions, or bumps. While self-examination every month can be helpful, a dentist is more likely to spot early signs of oral cancer during a routine appointment. 

Regular dental appointments will increase your chances of detecting oral cancer while it is still in its early stages. When compared to treatment in the latter stages, treatment at the early stage will be easier and more effective. Even if you don’t have bad habits that might increase the risk of oral cancer, seeing a dentist every six months is the best way to maintain good dental health and minimize oral cancer risk. 

4. Maintain good oral hygiene

To reduce the risk of oral cancer, it is crucial to brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis. The mouth of a person with poor oral hygiene is a great breeding ground for bacteria and disease. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is one of the primary causes of mouth cancer. An unclean oral cavity also has a negative impact on your immune system and your body's capacity to fight dangerous infections.

5. Eat a healthy diet

Making smart choices at the grocery store may not ensure cancer prevention, but it may reduce your risk. Load your diet with fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods such as whole grains and legumes. Consume less high-calorie foods, such as refined carbohydrates and animal fat. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. The quantity of alcohol you drink and the length of time you've been drinking significantly raise your chance of developing cancer.

It is also crucial to reduce the intake of processed foods. According to research from the World Health Organization's cancer agency, consuming high amounts of processed beef can raise the risk of some forms of cancer, including oral cancer. 

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Amelia Grant

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