Thursday, September 20th, 2018

How to Prevent Oral Cancers


oral cancer 300x196 How to Prevent Oral Cancers

Talking about cancer is never easy, and yet, in some way this awful disease has touched almost everyone.

When talking about oral cancer specifically, it is important to define that it includes all cancer of the lips, cheeks, tongue, sinuses, as well as many other areas in or around a person’s mouth. While, it may seem apparent that something is wrong in your mouth, this disease often goes untreated as it often shows up as a sore or growth that won’t go away, and is self-diagnosed as canker sore.

Unfortunately, this type of cancer can be deadly if not both identified and treated early on, so it’s important to know how to prevent this disease. The tips below will help guide you in the right direction.

See your Dentist: Beyond just cleaning your teeth twice a year, and making them shine brighter, your dentist has many other benefits for your mouth. For example, they are able to conduct special cancer screenings that will keep you aware of what is going on in around your teeth and check out places that you cannot see on your own. Often people miss the beginnings of oral cancer in their own mouths, so having a screening every couple of years allows for a thorough check. The American Dental Association recommends that people over the age of 20 have their mouths checked every three years by their dentist for oral cancers.

Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol: Obviously, one of the most common ways to prevent oral cancers is to avoid both tobacco products and alcohol. The numbers speak for themselves. Smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop oral cancers, and oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in non-drinkers. Out of all people who develop oral cancers, 75 percent of them drank, and it’s important to note, that eliminating binge drinking, especially, will reduce your chance of oral cancers. It’s not just smoking that will hurt your mouth. Those numbers individually are huge, but if you both smoke and drink the chance of developing an oral cancer is even higher. The best way to prevent oral cancers is to never consume or use tobacco and alcohol.

Use Lip Balm: Did you know the sun can cause oral cancer? If you spend a lot of time running around outside, it’s crucial to use a lip balm with an UV-A/B-blocking ability. Cancer on the lower lip is very common in people who currently spend or spent a significant amount of time outside during their childhood or as an adult. And remember, don’t just slather up your lips with a protecting ointment, using sunscreen on your body, face, and arms will greatly reduce your chance of any type of skin cancer.

Check for Yourself: It’s recommended that once a month you do a detailed check of the insides of your mouth. Use a bright light, such as a mini-flashlight, and a mirror to examine the darker, hidden places in your mouth. Make sure to run your finger along the sides, the roof and base of your mouth. Also feel along your tongue for any irregular lumps or sores. Most importantly, if you find anything contact your dentist as soon as possible to have it officially checked out.

Shoshana Davis, a writer at, contributed this guest post.

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