Prevention is better than Cure. Oral Habits that help you fight! Studies have shown that bad oral hygiene habits can lead to major health problems, including mouth cancer. Oral cancer is a type of mouth cancer that is caused due to the growth of cancerous tissues in the oral cavity. It can occur in any parts that make up the mouth, or oral cavity- such as on the surface of the tongue, in the lips or gums or tongue, inside the cheek, in salivary glands, or in the roof and floor of the mouth.Studies have shown that bad oral hygiene habits can lead to major health problems, including mouth cancer. This means poor oral hygiene is not just restricted to bad breath and cavities. Like other cancers, the exact cause of mouth cancer is not known, yet, cancers form when a genetic mutation triggers cells on the lips or in the mouth to grow without control. Tobacco use and heavy alcohol use are the main risk factors for oral cancer.
Other factors that may contribute to the development of mouth cancer are exposure to certain chemicals, excessive sun exposure to your lips, a weakened immune system, human papillomavirus (HPV), a family history of oral cancer, etc.
What are the indicators or symptoms or signs for oral cancer?
Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer may include the following:
- Pain when swallowing
- Swelling in the mouth that lasts for more than three weeks
- Mouth ulcers or sores that do not heal
- Loose teeth with no apparent reason
- Unusual changes in sense of taste
- A patch which is white or reddish in color anywhere in the mouth
- A growth or lump inside your mouth
- Unexplained weight loss
You must visit a doctor immediately if you observe any of the above signs or symptoms. Early diagnosis of oral cancer helps in its effectiveness of the treatment, improving your chance of survival. Treatment for oral cancer depends on the location and stage of cancer, patient’s general health, etc. The main treatments are surgery and radiation therapy. In some cases, chemotherapy may be required.
Can oral cancer be prevented?
While there’s no proven way to prevent oral cancer, the golden key to the prevention of oral cancer is to not use tobacco. You can certainly reduce your risk by making changes in your lifestyle, such as – Dr. Reena Waghela, B.D.S Dental Director for Clinical Operations at Sabka Dentist strongly suggests that eating a healthy diet and avoiding or limiting the intake of junk foods, saturated fats, and processed meats. Dr. Reena also recommends the following to reduce the probability of Oral cancer or other health problems:
- Stop using tobacco or quit immediately.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure to your lips.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if you do drink.
- Make a point to visit your dentist regularly.
Studies have found that the chance of developing cancer of all types is lower among people who eat a healthy diet consisting of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, small amounts of lean animal or plant-based protein, and stay active by making regular exercise as part of their daily routine.
Finally, the best way to fight cancer is to avoid it and in the worst case detecting it as early as possible. Preventive dental checkup ensures that you get a professional check on possibilities of oral health problems like submucosal fibrosis or even oral cancer.