Mouth cancer is a cancer that can affect anyone. With over 7,000 people diagnosed with the disease last year and this figure set to increase further over the coming years, it is very important you are aware of any factors that can increase your risk of developing the disease.
91% of all diagnoses are linked to lifestyle factors which means that by amending certain lifestyle choices it is possible to drastically reduce your risk of developing moth cancer. There are four main factors to consider, including:
We all know about the risks associated with tobacco and developing lung cancer, but not many people know it is also a major risk factor in developing mouth cancer. Each cigarette contains thousands of chemicals all of which enter the body through the mouth. Over time the saliva in your mouth is transformed by these chemicals, damaging cells and potentially turning them cancerous.
Smokers are three times more likely to develop mouth cancer than non-smokers and seven times more likely to be diagnosed with throat cancer. However, it is never too late to reduce your risk! Research has shown that by quitting smoking you can reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer by more than a third. So why not use this as the impetus you need to kick the cigarettes for good!
Drinking large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis is another major risk factor linked with mouth cancer – with links to around 30% of all mouth cancer diagnoses. The key to this is regularly drinking large quantities, an occasional glass of wine or night out is not a problem!
o Tobacco and Alcohol
If you combine the two, your risks dramatically increase, by potentially as much as thirty times. If you smoke and drink it is especially important that you attend the dentist for routine appointments so that they can continually monitor the health of your mouth, teeth and gums.
o The Human papillomavirus
Many experts believe that the Human papillomavirus (HPV), transmitted through oral sex, will overtake tobacco use as the main cause of mouth cancer within the next ten years. HPV is very common and almost every sexually active person will get HPV at some point in their lives. 90% of infections go away within two years, but sometimes the infection can persist causing several different problems, including:
- Abnormal tissue growth which can cause cancer
- Genital warts
In order to reduce your risk, you should practice safe sex. There is also now an HPV immunisation programme in place, with all 12 and 13-year-old girls routinely vaccinated.
50% off all mouth cancer cases are due in some part to a poor diet. It is important to ensure that you have a diet rich in fruit and vegetables to keep your body healthy. Certain food can help to reduce your mouth cancer risk – including vitamin C and calcium supplements, green tea and coffee.
If you would like more help and advice on how to reduce your risks of developing mouth cancer or are concerned about any changes in your mouth book an appointment online, or call West Wickham Dental Practice today on 0208 776 1188. If in doubt get it checked out!