Brushing your teeth and maintaining a great oral health routine can have many positive benefits, from warding off bad breath to ensuring your teeth stay strong and cavity free. But can great oral health actually prevent mouth cancer? There is some debate on the topic, but whether it’s true or not, it’s no secret that the benefits of maintaining great oral health will be worth the effort.
Tips for preventing mouth cancer
At Reflections-Dental Oakville, we’re all about the oral – and overall – health of our patients. If you’re local in Oakville, Burlington and area and have questions for us, please ask or book a visit!
While simply brushing your teeth isn’t going to have an effect on whether you develop any form of mouth cancer, there are some things you can do to help take some preventative steps.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
When your body is low on nutrients it can lead to changes in your mouth that may increase the risk of developing cancer. Choose veggies like squash, carrots and brussels sprouts to help your body maintain an adequate level of immune boosting vitamins and antioxidants. Citrus fruits that contain Vitamin C like oranges, grapefruits and lemons can also help reduce your risks of developing oral cancer.
Snack on raw veggies
While it’s common to cook your vegetables as a side for your meal, you run the risk of over cooking them and removing all the cancer-fighting benefits that they can offer. Try cooking veggies to al dente or snacking on them raw to get all the vitamins you can.
Cut back (ideally, quit) alcohol and cigarettes
It may be common knowledge that tobacco use and cigarette smoking can often lead to cancers like lung, throat and mouth cancer, but people often don’t realize alcohol is a significant culprit as well. A social drink on weekends likely won’t raise your chances of developing cancer, but if you have 3 to 4 drinks a day your odds nearly double.
Brush your teeth
Of course, brushing your teeth is a natural part of a great mouth health routine, but did you know that it can actually play a role in preventing mouth cancer as well? No, you can’t brush cancer cells out of your mouth, but you can brush out a virus called Human papillomavirus (HPV) that has been identified as a virus that can lead it cancer if left unchecked.
See your dentist regularly
Visits to the dentist aren’t just designed to clean your teeth and fill a cavity every six months. Your dentist can also help keep an eye on areas of concern inside of your mouth that may turn into trouble down the road.
Wear lip balm with SPF
Our skin isn’t the only area susceptible to cancer! Your lips can also be at risk if you are in the sun unprotected for too long. Wearing a lip balm that has an SPF in it and donning a hat with a wide brim can help you protect both your face and your mouth from cancer
Keep an eye on things
Though your dentist will help watch for warning signs at your visits, it’s a good habit to get into checking your mouth out yourself on a regular basis. Set a date each month to open wide in front of your mirror and give your mouth a good once over. Look for any unusual ulcers or red or white spots that don’t look like they’re going away on their own.
It all starts with a great mouth health routine
The jury may still be out on whether great oral health can actually prevent mouth cancer in a direct way, but there’s no hiding the many other benefits of keeping up with a mouth health routine. Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly can help you prevent against many issues like plaque, gum disease, oral thrush and cavities. Maintaining a great mouth health routine is about more than just brushing and flossing though. The foods you eat, what you drink, if you use mouthwash, whether you smoke and how often you see the dentist will all play a significant role in your quest for great mouth health.