5 Ways to Avoid Oral Cancer

January 25, 2019 Lakeshore Dentistry

Oral Cancer Screening Dentists Holland MIAt the Lakeshore Dentistry & Implant Center, our dentists are passionate about helping patients avoid oral cancer.

Oral cancer screenings are a part of every regular dental exam, but there are preventative measures you can take between checkups, as well.

Here are 5 lifestyle tips our dentists recommend for a clean bill of health.

1. Quit smoking.

Cigarettes are known to cause lung cancer, but did you know they’re one of the leading oral cancer causes as well? Even just smoking the occasional cigar is enough to increase your chances of developing oral cancer.

But non-smokers aren’t automatically in the clear. Tobacco in any form is dangerous, including chewing tobacco or snuff. If you haven’t already kicked your tobacco habit, this is a good time to start: 75% of oral cancer patients 50 and older have been tobacco users.

2. Steer clear of alcohol.

When it comes to alcohol, the less you drink, the better. Oral cancer is six times more likely to develop in drinkers than in non-drinkers. Studies have linked cirrhosis of the liver as well as dehydration that occurs when drinking to the formation of oral cancer cells.

3. Avoid UV rays.

Just as you would apply sunscreen before heading to the beach, you should be protecting your lips as well. Excess sun exposure around your mouth can lead to oral cancer.

Most types of sunscreen that you buy for your body aren’t optimized for use on the lips. To protect against oral cancer, opt for a chapstick with SPF and reapply throughout the day for maximum protection. It also helps to wear a wide-brimmed hat that keeps the sun off your face.

4. Consider genetics.

If you have a family history of any type of cancer, you run a higher risk of developing oral cancer. While a family history certainly doesn’t guarantee that you’ll experience cancer firsthand, learning about your genetic predispositions can help you make mindful choices regarding your health.

It’s a good idea to bring up your family history during your next dental checkup, as well. It’s in your best interest to give our team a complete view of your medical records so we know what to look out for. Our dentists can advise you about reducing your risk long-term.

5. Get vaccinated.

Certain types of human papillomavirus, or HPV, can increase your risk of oral cancer. If you’re eligible, consider getting the HPV vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus altogether, thereby reducing your chances of developing oral cancer.

Request an Appointment With Us

At your oral cancer screening, one of our dentists will look for visible abnormalities and probe the mouth to feel for anything unusual. It’s important to be honest with us about your lifestyle so we can work with you to prevent oral cancer.

At the Lakeshore Dentistry & Implant Center, our family dentists in Holland, MI, are dedicated to helping our patients stay healthy. To request an appointment for an oral cancer screening, give our office a call at (616) 399-3946.

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