Many patients are very alert for signs of dental discoloration and cavity development, but less diligent about screening for oral cancer. Because oral cancer is most easily, quickly, and conservatively treated as it first develops, early detection is key. Keep reading to learn more from our Cheney dentists about cancerous tissues.
There are certain substances and habits that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
- Alcohol consumption: patients who consume a moderate to large amount of alcohol experience oral cancers at higher rates than non-drinkers and infrequent drinkers. Keep in mind that your risk further increases if your regularly drink higher proof alcohols.
- Diet: here’s some good news—when you consume antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, you actually help to lessen your risk of developing many types of cancer, including oral cancers.
- Tobacco use: tobacco products, including chew, cigarettes, and cigars leave you vulnerable to oral cancer development. For example, smoking increases oral cancer risk by as much as nine times.
- Sun exposure: we all know that SPF is critical for protecting your skin from damage, but it’s just as important for your lips. Look for lip glosses and balms that include SPF in order to safeguard your lips day to day.
There are also some risk factors that are outside of your direct control, but by being aware of them, you can undergo dental screenings more often if necessary.
- Age: as you get older, your likelihood of developing oral cancer increases; over 90% of oral cancers occur in patients over the age of 40.
- Race: statistically, the African American community has a higher rate of oral cancer than Caucasians.
- Family history: if there is a history of oral cancer in your family, let your dental team know so that they can put you on an appropriate cleaning and screening schedule.
If you want to learn more about protecting your oral health, and oral cancer management/treatment, please give our Cheney dentists a call!