At NorthPointe Family Dental and Treatment Center, oral cancer screenings are a part of your regular dental cleaning and exam. Oral cancer is a killer disease, but it can be treated if it’s caught early on. Between oral cancer screenings, there are a few things our Grand Rapids, MI oral cancer screening dentist recommends to minimize your lifestyle risk of developing oral cancer. Here are 5 changes to make that will help keep you healthy and safe for the long term.
Preventing Oral Cancer
1.) Avoid tobacco products.
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% ofpatients 50 and older have been tobacco users.
2.) Cut back on drinking.
When it comes to alcohol, the less you drink, the better.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.) Always use SPF.
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.) Know your genetic risk factors.
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 oral 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 oral cancer screening, as well. Our Grand Rapids family dentist can advise you about reducing your risk long-term.
5.) Get vaccinated for HPV.
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.
At your oral cancer screening, Dr. Suk Jun Yun will look for visible abnormalities and probe the mouth to feel for anything unusual. It’s important to be honest with him about your lifestyle so he can work with you to prevent oral cancer.
While it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle, the best safeguard against oral cancer is regular oral cancer screenings. Our Grand Rapids, MI oral cancer screening dentist will inspect your mouth for any signs of oral cancer and put your mind at ease. To make an appointment with Dr. Suk Jun Yun, call NorthPointe Family Dental and Treatment Center at (616) 288-6134!