With April being observed as Oral Cancer Awareness Month, Dr Per Rehnberg, CEO, Sno Dental, shares his tips to prevent oral cancer.
Oral cancer is divided into two categories: those occurring in the oral cavity (your lips, the inside of your lips and cheeks, teeth, gums, the front two-thirds of your tongue and the floor and roof of your mouth) and those occurring in the oropharynx (middle region of the throat, including the tonsils and base of the tongue). Oral cancer is a very serious disease as it progresses at a rapid pace, making early detection vital. It can easily be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting regular dental checkups.
Here are some simple tips from Abu Dhabi dentist Dr Per Rehnberg that can help prevent oral cancer.
1. Don’t use tobacco products
Smoking has been linked to many different types of cancer, including that of the head, neck and oral cavity. To greatly reduce your chance of developing oral or oropharyngeal cancer, stay away from tobacco in any form.
2. Maintain good oral hygiene
Brush and floss your teeth daily as bad oral hygiene is a known risk factor for oral cancer. Brushing twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste is critical in removing bacteria that causes cavities, gingivitis (inflammation in the gum) and bad breath. Flossing is often forgotten, however, if you don’t floss, you will miss cleaning 35 percent of your tooth surfaces. Flossing in the evening will remove bacteria that like to feed on food particles throughout the day and also prevent bad breath.
3. Regular self-oral examination
Examine your mouth in good light once every month to look for non-healing ulcers, areas of bleeding, abnormal patches or any swellings, as these may be signs of cancer, and early detection increases the chances of successful treatment.
Scheduling six-month check-ups is a great way to keep a healthy mouth. Early detection and regular preventive examinations are key to surviving oral cancer. Regular expert screenings at a dental clinic can detect early warning signs, giving you your best chance at successful treatment. Make sure your clinic does this.
5. Protect yourself from sun exposure
Lip cancer is directly related to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and people who work outdoors and have prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to develop lip cancer. To reduce this risk, you must try to limit your exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This does not mean you must avoid the sun altogether. Always wear a protective lip balm with SPF when you’re outside in the strong sun.
6. Don’t ignore any ulcer, bleeding or pain
If you spot any ulcers or bleeding that does not respond to treatment for over a month, get it checked out as it could be something much more serious.
7. Maintain a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits and nuts coupled with regular exercise is known to protect from oral cancer. Most of us have sedentary lifestyles and we must try and balance this by doing some form of regular exercise.
8. Cut out alcohol
Alcohol is known to be a big risk factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancer, particularly when used along with tobacco. It is advisable to limit your alcohol intake to a minimal level. Not only will this prove to be good for your liver and heart, but it also reduces your risk of oral cancer.
Sno Dental is offering free screenings to the public from 19th to 26th April to support Oral Cancer Awareness Month. The screening consists of a physical assessment of the head and neck (including all oral mucosal tissue). For more information, contact: 800 336 8478, snoclinics.com