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Reducing Your Risk for Oral Cancer

Posted on April 4th, 2020 by Dr. Nikoo Daftary

April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to think about ways to reduce your risk of oral cancer. You may not hear as much about oral cancer as you do breast, lung, and colon cancer – still a diagnosis of oral cancer, although not a death sentence, can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. There are ways to lower your risk of developing oral cancer, and many of these lifestyle modifications will also improve your overall health.

Avoid Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco

Avoiding all forms of tobacco, including cigars, cigarettes, pipes, snuff, and chewing tobacco is the best way to significantly reduce your risk for oral cancer. It is also important to avoid second-hand smoke. Furthermore, never think it’s too late and it doesn’t matter if you quit – it does. The longer you go without using tobacco, the more you will lower your risk of developing oral cancer.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

If you do drink alcohol, limit your consumption to two drinks or less per day – one or less if you are a woman. Never smoke or chew tobacco if you drink alcohol. Using the two together increases the risk of oral cancer more than the use of either on its own.

Get the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

HPV vaccines help protect against infection from the HPV-18 and HPV-16 virus strains that have been linked with oral cancer and other types of cancer. Some forms of the vaccine protect against other strains as well. Get vaccinated and have your children vaccinated in order to reduce the risk of HPV related cancers.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Regular use of lip balm with SPF will help lower your risk of contracting lip cancer. Try to reduce the time you spend in the sun when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, usually between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the summer months. Lastly, create your own shade by wearing a wide-brimmed hat that covers your face, head, ears, and neck.

Eat Your Vegetables

Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables every day will ensure you get your daily dose of carotenoids. Carotenoids, found in yellow and orange fruit and vegetables as well as green leafy vegetables, lower the risk of oral cancer by limiting damage to the cells in the mouth.

Take Care of Your Oral Health

Proper oral care is important to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It’s especially important to visit your dentist regularly, as they can help find and treat problems in the mouth that can lead to cancer.

General, Restorative, and Cosmetic Dentistry in Chicago

Additionally, cosmetic dentistry in Chicago may be recommended if you suffer from poor bite alignment, or other issues that cause sore spots in your mouth. You can resolve your dental imperfections by booking an appointment with our highly skilled team at the Art of Modern Dentistry. We can help create a beautiful, healthy smile as well as alleviate any issues that increase your risk of oral cancer – call today.

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