April 3, 2018
This year alone, it is estimated that around 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and only about 50% are likely to survive the next five years. Oral cancer doesn’t often get talked about, but it actually claims at least one life every hour of every day here in the U.S. alone. There are numerous risk factors that make a person more likely to develop oral cancer, and today, your dentist in Carrollton is going to share them as well as what you can do to keep yourself protected.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Like with all cancers, there are certain behaviors that can make a person much more likely to experience oral cancer at some point in their life. Chief among them is the use of smoking or chewing tobacco. Excessive alcohol consumption can have the same effect. However, there are also other risk factors that are less well-known, including:
- Being over the age of 40
- Having the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Being male (men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women)
- An unhealthy diet that is rich in sugar and carbohydrates
- Too much sun exposure
- A genetic predisposition to develop oral cancer
Having dentures that don’t quite fit properly can make a person more vulnerable to oral cancer as well, as this can cause irritation in the mouth that leads to an inflammatory response, and this is often the precursor to many types of cancer.
How to Stay Protected
Of all these factors, some of them are under a person’s control, but many of them are not. What can you do to reduce your risk? Firstly, limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding the use of tobacco products is absolutely essential, but in addition to this, one of the most important things a person can do is get regular oral cancer screenings. When caught and treated early, oral cancer has about an 85% survival rate.
Where can you get these screenings? Conveniently enough, during your regular dental checkups. Dentists and hygienists alike will check your mouth for signs of cancer as part of your exams and cleanings. Should they find anything that indicates cancerous or precancerous cells (such as a persistent sore or growth in the mouth), they can then arrange for you to get a biopsy to figure out if you’ll require further treatment.
What to Remember
Oral cancer is a very serious disease that isn’t always on the public’s mind, but it’s something your dentist in 75010 thinks about every day. Dental appointments can do much more than simply keep your teeth healthy! If you haven’t had a checkup/screening within the last six months or so, be sure to contact your dentist today to schedule one. It could literally be the thing that saves your life.
About the Author
Dr. Durga Devarakonda is a graduate of the prestigious Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and she has been practicing family dentistry since 2011. In addition to helping her patients fend off cavities, she also keeps a watchful eye out for oral cancer so they can get the treatment they need as soon as possible. To learn more about how you can reduce your risk for developing oral cancer, she can be contacted through her website.
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