It’s common knowledge that the use of tobacco products can increase your overall risk of oral cancer, but there are other factors at play as well. Regular exercise, proper diets, and good habits are the
building blocks for any healthy lifestyle, but they can significantly lower the possibility of many diseases. As always, regular brushing, flossing, and other beneficial dental care are your best tools for preventing the development of many diseases, and can aid in the fight against cancer. If you are already affected by oral cancer, this information may also help during your treatment and after.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Tobacco usage, especially smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, is the only known cause of oral cancer. The best way to prevent oral cancer from developing is to completely stop the use of tobacco products. We know that it can be hard to quit this addictive habit, but it’s one of the best things that you can do for your health, and the health of your loved ones (secondhand smoke is a proven cause of other types of cancer). Your dentist and doctor can give you great advice and other tips to help you quit using tobacco products. Please turn to them for advice and let them know that you want to quit. They will be 100% supportive, which can really make a difference in your quest to stop!
If you drink three or more alcoholic beverages a day, you have a greater chance of getting oral cancer, as well as additional health problems. Drinking and smoking often coincide, which may attribute to the high cancer rates in those who use drink. However, studies have shown that frequent binge drinking also corresponds with an unhealthy diet, which can increase one’s risk for cancer. The best way to control these factors is to limit alcoholic beverage intake, and choose healthier foods. Leafy, green vegetables, foods which are high in vitamin B, green tea, and other antioxidant-rich foods have been continually linked to fighting or preventing cancer. You should avoid frying the vegetables as well, as this form of cooking effectively zaps the foods of any nutritive content.
Vitamin D is great for overall health, and has been known to lessen chances of acquiring cancer. High levels of vitamin D enable bones and teeth to absorb the calcium they need to stay strong and healthy. The natural way of getting vitamin D is from safe levels of sun exposure. Unfortunately, sun exposure is a risk factor for oral cancer on the lips, and for other types of cancer on other places in the body. Regular sunblock and limited time in the sun can help deter these unwanted effects. If you want to play it safe or if you’re exposure to the sun is already limited, you may want to talk to your dentist or doctor about vitamin D supplements. Adding these to your healthy diet could help you avoid oral cancer.
Need help? Don’t hesitate to ask!
If you’re unsure about your chances of developing oral cancer or other cancers, please turn to your healthcare professional. Your dentists and doctors want what’s best for your well-being, and should be able to provide helpful tips, or refer you to a trusted colleague who can. It’s never too late to improve your health!