April is oral cancer awareness month. It’s estimated that around 49,750 people will be diagnosed with mouth, throat, tonsil, or tongue cancer this year. That’s a large number of people. Thankfully, your dentist performs an oral cancer screening during each checkup and cleaning, allowing you and your dentist to spot it before it develops further. Is there anything you can do to help prevent it from developing? Here are some steps you can take to lower your risk of oral cancer.
Any products that contain tobacco, whether it’s cigarettes or chewing tobacco, increase your chances of developing oral cancer significantly. Smoking can not only cause oral cancer, it can cause cancer in other parts of your body as well, such as in the lungs. Smokeless tobacco, such as chew, can lead to a number of issues in your mouth, the biggest of which being the development of cheek, gum, or lip cancer. These products can also have detrimental effects on your teeth. Avoiding tobacco products at any cost will lower your risk of oral cancer by a large margin.
7 of 10 oral cancer patients drink heavily, according to the American Cancer Society. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines heavy drinkers as men who average two drinks a day or women who average more than one drink a day. Heavy drinking, especially when combined with heavy smoking, increases your odds of developing oral cancer exponentially. If this applies to you, taking steps to cut back on your drinking will have multiple benefits for your health.
Although it may seem tedious, applying sunscreen greatly reduces your chances of developing lip cancer, especially if you work outside.
Our dentists offer a variety of procedures based on your oral health needs. Schedule an appointment today. Contact us at our local Austin, TX office at 512-250-9444.