Here at Sand Springs Family Dentistry, we are taking part in No Shave November to support cancer awareness. In light of this, Dr. Whitney will not shave for the entire month of November. Our office’s goal is to raise awareness about oral cancer.
Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth and throat. It is more prevalent in men than in women and can develop in lips, cheek lining, salivary glands, hard palate, soft palate, uvula, the area under your tongue, gums, tongue and tonsils. Despite being mostly preventable, an estimated 49,670 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and more than 9,700 will die of the disease. Want to know some of the best ways to help prevent oral cancer?
Here are 5 ways:
1. Steer clear of tobacco.
The longer you’ve used tobacco and the more often you use it, the greater your risk of head and neck cancers. Chewing, smokeless and snuff tobaccos, which are placed directly in the mouth, can create gray-white ulcers called leukoplakia in the mouth that can become cancerous. Smokeless tobacco also contains chemicals known to damage a gene that protects against cancer.
2. Drink alcohol in moderation.
As with smoking, the longer you use alcohol and the amount you drink, the more your risk goes up. That’s because alcohol plays a role in changing the body’s chemistry to break down its defenses against cancer. People who have more than 3.5 alcoholic drinks per day increase their risk of oral cavity cancers two to three times, according to the National Institutes of Health.
3. See your dentist regularly.
Very often, dentists and dental hygienists are the first to notice potentially cancerous growths. In addition to visiting the dentist every six months, be sure to brush and floss twice a day — and after meals — to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.
4. Get vaccinated for HPV.
Human papilloma virus (HPV), particularly HPV16, is strongly associated with oropharyngeal cancers, especially those at the back of the mouth. The best way to prevent HPV is to get vaccinated before you become sexually active.
5. Brush, Floss, and Rinse Every Day
• Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes or more
• Brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth
• Floss daily, gently and close to your teeth to avoid gum damage
• Drink plenty of water every day
• Use softer toothbrushes to prevent enamel loss and gum erosion
Remember that brushing and flossing daily are only the first steps. How you brush and floss is just as important as well. If you develop the above habits and don’t rush through your oral care times, you’ll be in good shape to keep oral cancer at bay.
Let our office help you keep oral cancer at bay. It is our goal to provide each of our patients with the best dental care possible. Be sure to contact the team here at Sand Springs Family Dentistry and to set up an appointment with Dr. Whitney today!