Steps you can take to reduce your risk Of Oral Cancer

Steps you can take to reduce your risk Of Oral Cancer

D wants patients to be aware of oral cancer risks and steps they can take to help promote overall oral health. More than 35,000 people in the US are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and one American dies from the disease every hour. Cancer can develop on any part of the mouth, including the gums, lips, inside cheek lining, tongue and roof or floor. Caused by cellular mutations, the disease can spread to other areas of the body and is potentially fatal.

Although dentists in Northern Virginia and throughout the country are not sure exactly what causes the mutations that lead to oral cancer, they have identified risk factors that make certain people more likely to develop the disease. These risk factors include a history of cancer treatments in the head area, heavy alcohol use and tobacco use of any kind. Knowing these risks gives people the power to reduce their risk of developing oral cancer by making certain lifestyle changes.

Never starting or quitting the use of tobacco is one of the best ways to prevent the disease. Any type of tobacco, including cigars, cigarettes and chewing tobacco, exposes your cells to harmful cancer-causing chemicals.

Limit your intake of alcohol, which can irritate the mouth’s cells and make them more vulnerable to developing cancer. If you are a woman, stick to one drink a day or less. Men can safely have two drinks a day or less.

Making healthy diet choices is another effective way to limit your risk of developing oral cancer and to promote oral health. Eating green or cruciferous vegetables at least once a week can reduce your risk by up to 17 percent, so load your plate up with veggies like radishes, broccoli, leafy greens, cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower or bok choy.

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