How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer
No one can predict the future. But even if cancer runs in your family, there’s a lot you can do to reduce your risk of oral cancer. The first step is to recognize how much power you have over your lifestyle and daily habits. The next step is to decide that you’re going to take better care of your health and schedule an appointment with one of our dentists in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
What you do today matters. Here’s how to get started.
It’s hard to quit smoking.
Biggest. Understatement. Ever.
That’s why there’s no shame in reaching out for help. We recommend reaching out to your medical doctor, family, and friends for the support you’ll need during this journey.
Aren’t sure how to get started? Check out SmokeFree from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Their website even offers personalized advice for women, teens, veterans, and seniors.
Wear Lip Balm with SPF
Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? If so, you’ll need to protect your lips from UV rays.
Prolonged exposure to UV rays can damage the DNA in your cells, increasing your risk for oral cancer.
We recommend wearing a lip balm of at least 15 SPF whenever you’re heading outside. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will also help decrease your exposure to UV rays from the sun.
Sun exposure tends to be higher around noon, so be mindful of when you’re spending time outside.
Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional beer or glass of wine. But drinking too much alcohol can damage the DNA inside your cells.
Once this happens, the cells inside your body can multiply out of control and turn into cancer.
Drinking alcohol irritates the mouth and if you drink 3 to 4 drinks a day, you’re twice as likely to get oral cancer. Your risk of oral cancer goes up even higher if you drink and smoke.
Get Oral Cancer Screenings
Let’s be clear. Oral cancer screenings will not decrease your risk of getting cancer. But they do give our dentists the opportunity to detect any abnormalities inside the mouth before they worsen. For example, white or red patches inside the mouth may indicate that you have oral cancer.
During your appointment, one of our dentists will examine the inside of your mouth and feel for any lumps or bumps.
It’s also important that you check inside your own mouth in between visits. That way, you’ll be able to detect any issues before they have a chance to worsen.
Please call our office if you notice any lumps, bumps, red patches, or anything else that looks suspicious.
Don’t Skip Routine Dental Visits
In general, we recommend that our patients see us at least every six months for preventive care. During these visits, you’ll receive a teeth cleaning and thorough oral examination. We may also take X-rays depending on how long it’s been since your last ones.
Routine teeth cleaning appointments allow our dentists the opportunity to detect small issues before they have the chance to worsen. Teeth cleanings are also vital to maintaining a healthy, attractive smile for life.
Request an Appointment with Us
Your past doesn’t dictate the future.can be scary. But you have the power to reduce your risk of oral cancer—starting today.
Our family dentists in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are dedicated to helping you maintain a healthy smile. As such, they offer oral cancer screenings and other preventive dental services. To request an appointment and oral cancer screening, call Advance Dental at (616) 956-9183 or fill out our online contact form.
This blog post has been updated.