Most of the time, poor mouth hygiene is associated with bad breath, tooth ache and tooth decay. However, it is also a key contributing factor in the development of oral cancer. Oral cancer, also known as cancer of the mouth, can either affect the mouth lining, or corrode deeper tissues such as the nerves, muscles and bones within the mouth.
Some of the common symptoms of this disease includes, difficulty in swallowing or chewing, difficulty in moving the tongue or jaw, a wart-like growth or lump in the mouth, pain or bleeding in the mouth or lips, loose teeth, speaking problems and numbness of the face and mouth.
Generally, cancer of the mouth is more common in persons above the age of 50, but it can also affect young people. Consumption of alcohol, smoking, too much sun exposure on the lips and chewing tobacco are some of the factors that increase one’s risk of developing this life-threatening disease. When you add all these to bad dental practices, your chances of developing oral cancer increases significantly. It is unfortunate that many people are dying from this disease even though it is preventable.
How To Prevent Oral Cancer
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene keeps your gums healthy, protects your teeth from decay, keeps your breath fresh and significantly reduces your risk of getting oral cancer. Here are some of the things you can do to keep your mouth clean throughout the day:
- a) Brush At Least Twice A Day
Brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes or more using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Consider using a battery or electric-operated toothbrush, as opposed to a manual toothbrush, to help reduce plaque and gum disease. These kinds of toothbrushes also come in handy when you suffer from problems that make it difficult to brush effectively, like arthritis. If used correctly, the brush should last between 2 and 3 month after which it’s should be replaced.
Don’t know how to brush properly? It’s simple. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, aiming the bristles toward your gum line. Then, gently brush each tooth in short, circular motions, making sure that you brush every surface of your teeth and tongue. But, be careful not to overdo it, as overly aggressive brushing can erode your gum line and damage your teeth.
- b) Floss Daily
Daily flossing is a key part of oral hygiene that promotes healthier teeth and gums by removing food remains from the tight spaces between your teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach.
Just like in brushing, there’s a wrong and right way to floss. Break off approximately 18 inches of dental floss, and wind most of it around your middle finger on one hand, and the remaining on the middle finger on the other hand. Gripping the floss tightly between your forefingers and thumbs, slide the floss into the space between your tooth and gum, and floss gently on each side of your tooth in an up and down motion. Be sure to unwind fresh floss as you move to the rest of the teeth.
- c) Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet, can go along way in improving your dental health. Since processed (starchy and sugary foods) tend to remain on your teeth surface, try to limit the amount you eat. Also, avoid eating sugary snacks between meals, and drink lots of water throughout the day to cleanse your mouth and keep you hydrated.
- d) Visit The Dentist Regularly
Say No To Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Consuming alcohol, especially hard liquor and beer, as well as smoking tobacco and cigarettes increases your risk of developing cancer of the mouth. Saying no to these substances can lower your risk of getting this disease considerably.
Always Wear A Sunscreen When Going Out
People who expose themselves to the harsh and harmful sun rays without wearing a sunscreen are more likely to develop lip cancer. So, make it your responsibility to always wear a lip balm with sunscreen when going out.
Use these tips to help reduce your risk of developing oral cancer.