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.

Gum Disease And Kaposis Sarcoma

Kaposi's SarcomaMore evidence that gum disease can cause other health related issues is now evidence in studies from Case Western Reserve University. It’s been found that fatty acids from bacteria that are present in gum disease may cause Kaposis Sarcoma (an oral cancer) related lesions and tumors in the mouth.

If these lesions or tumors are found, they can be tested and hopefully treated for cancer before it would become malignant. Early detection is the key to surviving Kaposis Sarcoma. It seems that people with HIV are even more susceptible to this type of cancer that can be tied to gum disease.  The fact of the matter remains, excellent oral hygiene is so important not only for the mouth, but for overall health.  Read more about the study in the article on Dentistry Today here: Bacteria Causing Gum Disease May Lead To Oral Cancer Growth.

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

10 Frightening Dental Problems

dental problemsIn this informative article from Dr. Carol Ford, you can read about ten scary dental problems that affect people everywhere. It is important to view dental care as an integral part of your overall health.  If you ignore concerns with your oral health, there are some frightening things that can happen.  Here are 10 things that can be serious if you don’t seek dental care promptly.

1. Oral cancer – More than 110 mouth cancer cases are diagnosed per day in the U.S. Please ask your dentist about performing an oral cancer exam when you make your next appointment.

2. Sensitive teeth or tooth pain – There are many possible causes for tooth pain, but some can be extremely serious if left untreated.

3. Periodontitis – Otherwise known as gum disease.  Advanced gum disease can destroy bone and soft tissue and surgery may be necessary.

Read the other 7 scary dental problems from Dr. Ford here: Dental Care | 10 Scary Dental Problems.

New Risks for Oral Cancer

Poor oral health and irregular dental checkups can increase the risk of oral cancer, according to a new study.  The study found that in addition to smoking, heavy drinking and low socioeconomic status, poor oral health and dental care can be added to the list of mjohnny_automatic_open_mouthouth and throat cancer risks.

In the study, the definition of poor oral health was people who had complete or part dentures and people with persistently bleeding gums. Many people who wear dentures think that they don’t need to see a dentist anymore, but this is not the case.

People with poor dental care were defined as those who hardly ever or never brushed their teeth or never visited a dentist.  Patients should see their dentist at least once a year if they are in a low risk category, but those in higher risk situations should see the dentist more often.

There was also some inconclusive results to the study that identified mouthwash as a risk for oral cancer.  But there needs to be more research done in order to establish this risk.

If you want to lower your risks for oral cancer, be sure to brush and floss daily and see your dentist once a year.  If your dentist recommends further visits, be sure to follow up.

Study Identifies ‘New Risks’ For Mouth And Throat Cancers | BBC News