100 Worcester Street, Suite 50 | Grafton, MA 01536

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

A dentist holds a cream and red ribbon for oral cancer awareness

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be approximately 54,000 new cases this year of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer, with about 11,230 related deaths. The lifetime risk is about 1 in 60 for men and 1 in 140 for women. Common cancer sites include the tongue, tonsils and oropharynx, gums, floor of the mouth, lips, minor salivary glands, and other areas of the mouth. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer:

  1. Protect Yourself From the Sun
  2. Unprotected UV light exposure increases your risk for both skin cancer and oral cancer. When you go outside, wear a hat and regularly apply a lip balm with at least a 30 SPF. You should also avoid tanning beds.

  3. Eat a Healthy Diet
  4. Research shows a link between an unhealthy diet and an increased risk for oral cancer. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are packed with cancer-fighting nutrients, so make sure your diet is full of superfoods like broccoli, dark leafy greens, berries, quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, etc. The American Cancer Society also recommends limiting sugary drinks, red and processed meats, and highly processed foods.

  5. Cut Back on Alcohol
  6. Heavy drinkers are more likely to get oral cancer than those who don’t drink. Any alcohol consumption can contribute to health problems but “moderate” drinking is defined as one daily drink for women and two daily drinks for men. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, having more than 21 standard drinks per week is the second largest risk factor for oral cancer.

  7. Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco
  8. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for oral cancer! Smoking can cause mouth and throat cancer, while oral tobacco products are often linked to cancer in the gums, cheeks, and inside of your lips. When smoking is combined with heavy drinking, your risk for developing cancer is even higher.

  9. Get Oral Cancer Screenings at Grafton Dental Care in Grafton, MA
  10. Oral cancer may not cause symptoms in its very early stages, so it’s critical to get regular preventive checkups and oral cancer screenings at the dentist. Dr. Gupta and our team will check your lips, tongue, cheeks, and the rest of your mouth for warning signs like sores and white or red patches. When caught early, oral cancer is highly curable.

Do you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment at Grafton Dental Care? Please contact us today!

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