Risk Factors Associated with Oral Cancer

oral cancerAnything that increases your risk of developing a disease is known as a risk factor. Everyone is at risk of getting oral cancer but certain factors place you at a higher risk of developing it. Oral cancer can develop anywhere in the mouth or throat with most of the cancers starting in the tongue and in the floor of the mouth.

The following are the general, genetic, and lifestyle risk factors associated with oral cancer:

The gender factor – Oral and oropharyngeal cancer are two times as widespread in men as in women. Alcohol and tobacco use constitute a significant oral cancer risk factor which is more prevalent in men than women, hence the difference may be linked to their use. However, since more women are using tobacco and alcohol, the gender difference among oral cancer patients is lessening.

The age factor – The oral cancer diagnosis age averages at about 60 to 62 with two thirds of the people with the ailment being over 55 years old.

The UV light factor – Individuals who are either exposed to sunlight for longer periods or work in the open commonly tend to develop cancers of the lip. Unhealthy diet deficient in vegetables and fruits has also been linked to a heightened risk of oral and oropharynx cancer.

The family history factor – Individuals who have a family history of oral cancer have a higher risk of the disease.

Using tobacco products – Tobacco in whatever form, be it cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing and sniffing tobacco, can lead to oral cavity and oropharynx cancer. It is estimated that 80 percent of individuals with this condition use these products.

Using alcohol – The more the number of drinks consumed per day the higher the risk of developing oral cancer. This risk doubles or triples in people who drink alcohol and smoke tobacco than in those who only drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. It is estimated that 70 percent of individuals found with oral cancer drink heavily.

Blending and chewing betel quid and tobacco – A lot of people from various locations of the world chew these two which have been linked to a greater risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

Graft-versus-host disease abbreviated as GVH, HPV infection, immune system suppression, lichen planus are additional risk factors of oral cancer. There also have been some concerns which however are still debatable about the possibility of some products such as mouthwash increasing the risk of oral cancer owing to their high alcohol content. Even though so far there has been no proof, there are unconfirmed risk factors linked to irritation arising from dentures.

It is clear that some oral cancer risk factors can be lowered particularly those linked to lifestyle. Avoiding these factors can help prevent oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancer.

Prevent Oral Cancer With Fruits and Vegetables

oral cancerHealth professionals say that eating fruits and vegetables plays an important role in preventing oral cancer. Current research supports a recommendation of whole foods and plant based foods with limited consumption of meat. Also, avoiding tobacco and alcohol use plays an important role.

So why fruits and vegetables?  In the studies conducted over the past 50 years, the relationship between fruits and vegetable consumption and oral cancer risk have identified strong evidence of a protective role veggies and fruits, especially citrus fruits. Vitamins C and E have antioxicant properties and may prevent DNA damage. Also, a group of compounds called Terpenes, can be found in citrus fruits and can influence cell cycle progression.  Fruits and vegetables contain micronutrients which help to prevent cancers.

Other components, such as nitrites in processed meats, can form carcinogenic nitrosamines, which may increase the risk of developing cancer. The most important thing is keeping dental patients educated on things that can help and hurt their risks of cancer.

Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Prevent Oral Cancer|Dentist.Net

Saliva Test Helps Reveal Disease Early

saliva test

Simple saliva test can find diseases early.

An interesting study from UCLA discusses how a simple saliva test may be capable of diagnosing diabetes, cancer and perhaps neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases at an early stage.

The study uncovers that saliva contains much of the same molecules that reveal disease as is contained in blood.  Unusual RNA molecules (known as cellular messengers that carry DNA instructions to other parts of the cell) have been found in the mouth and in cells.

The study is quite complex but very intresting.  To read the full article from Medical News Today and learn more about this study, click here: Simple saliva test may reveal deadly diseases early enough to treat them – Medical News Today.

The Effects of Smokeless Tobacco on Your Mouth

We often hear of the devastating effects of cigarettes and cigars on our lungs and bodies. The effects of second hand smoke fro19702255-word-on-glass-billboardm these things are also devastating.  You may think that you are doing everybody else a favor by using smokeless tobacco.  You’re saving everyone from the effects of second hand smoke, right?  But, smokeless tobacco is perhaps the worst offender when it comes to the health of the mouth. If you chew, you may want to consider the following:

Overtime, nicotine from the tobacco causes teeth to turn yellow and stained.  There is nothing you can do about it.  Brushing will have no effect on your efforts to whiten your teeth because it is stuck permanently to the enamel.

Smokeless tobacco increases receding gums.  Receding gums can lead to tooth lose and increase in bacteria which causes tooth decay and gum disease. Basically, your teeth are rotting away.

Cancer is the worst effect of smokeless tobacco use. Not only is cancer devastating to health and overall well being, but it can be incredibly painful. Cancer can develop in the mouth, throat and larynx.  Surgery to cure cancer often leaves the moth and face permanently disfigured. Also, smokeless tobacco use causes lesions that encrust the tongue and sides of the mouth.

Smokeless tobacco is the enemy of a healthy, clean mouth. By destroying and attacking from the inside, the mouth becomes a wasteland for bad breath, rotting teeth, and irreversible diseases that severely impact overall oral health.

Smokeless Tobacco VS. Your Mouth | Your Dental Health Resource