House of Lords stress dentists' role in the fight against oral cancer.
A recent debate at the House of Lords was focused largely on discussing ways to reduce the overwhelming burden that alcohol abuse is having on our health service. During the debate Lord Colwyn was able to express some key points in a well received speech. Lord Colwyn, the Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Dentistry and Oral Health was passionate about getting across just how detrimental the effects of alcohol are on the mouth and the development of oral cancer. Statistics show that 70% of people who are diagnosed with oral cancer drink excessive amounts of alcohol. However the risks are even greater for those individuals who chose to live a lifestyle including both alcohol and smoking. For this group of people there was a 38 times increased chance of contracted mouth cancer compared to individuals who neither smoked nor drank alcohol. A key point of the conversation was that dentists 'were on the front line' in the fight against mouth cancer. They appear in a very unique place on the timeline of mouth cancer progression in that dentists are able to see healthy patients on a regular basis. By keeping vigilant they can spot the signs of mouth cancer at its earliest stages. Here at Bamboo Dental we see the importance of this. Not only is the importance of early diagnosis important but providing patients with information to help limit the risks of such diseases is too very important.
What Steps Can You Take to Lower the Risks of Mouth Cancer?
More than 90% of mouth cancers in men and 85% in women are linked to lifestyle and environmental factors. After this fact you'll most likely understand that much of the risk is truly in your hands. Below we'll outline some key lifestyle changes you have the ability to make in order to limit the risks of developing mouth cancer. All of these tips will also benefit your health in general!
Quit smoking tobacco
Mouth cancers are closely linked to tobacco use. This is not limited to cigarettes but also included other ways that you may consume tobacco such as; cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and more. Tobacco use is not a prerequisite of mouth cancer. It is however a big factor and can have ongoing effects that burden your chances of recovery:
- Tobacco use makes treatment much less effective.
- Tobacco use makes it harder for your body to heal after surgery.
- Tobacco use increases your risk of a cancer recurrence.
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol, particularly when combined with tobacco use, greatly increases the risk of mouth cancer. Not only this but alcohol alone can increase the risks of other types of cancer in the body. As with tobacco use, ongoing use of alcohol after being diagnosed with cancer is going to hinder the recovery process. We advise you to limit alcohol consumption as much as possible if not stop consuming it altogether.
Eat a diet full of fruits and veg
The diet can be one of the most important factors in your health and in your risk of developing cancer. Fruit and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and anti-oxidants that may be able to reduce the risk of you developing mouth cancer.
Avoid exposing your lips to the sun
Many people neglect the lips when putting on suncream. It has been shown that the level of sun exposure hitting your mouth can be linked to the chance of developing mouth cancer. A few ways to combat this may be to stay in the shade, wear a broad-brimmed hat or to make sure you use sun cream on your lips as well as your face.
Make sure to visit your dentist often!
When you visit your dentist for a dental examination you can ask them to inspect your entire mouth for any signs of mouth cancer. Their knowledge and expertise will put them in a great position to spot any abnormalities at as an early a stage of possible. Of course, this all relies on you visiting your dentist as often as possible.