How can I prevent oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a particularly nasty form of cancer. Treatment often includes drastic surgeries in addition to chemotherapy or radiation. Oral cancer has a high recurrence rate and is often diagnosed after it has already progressed. When you consider that almost 50% of the population avoids regular twice-yearly dental visits, it is no surprise. Your dentist is your best bet in the early diagnosis and successful treatment of oral cancer.
Oral cancer has certain risk factors you can control. The main two risk factors involve tobacco and alcohol use. If you smoke, you can reduce your risk by quitting. Avoiding alcohol, particularly hard alcohol and beer, can also reduce your risk. The instance of oral cancer is much higher in people who use tobacco and alcohol together.
Exposure to sunlight may also increase the risk of oral cancer on your lips. Wearing a lip balm with SPF protection and limiting sun exposure can reduce your risk. Some studies also suggest a connection between HPV (human papillomavirus) and a higher instance of oral cancer.
In our Sugar Land, TX dental office, Dr. Reagan Grizzle uses Vizilite in the detection of oral cancer. Vizilite detects abnormal cells by making them more visible. An oral rinse in used in conjunction with a low-intensity light to make any lesions stand out.
If Dr. Grizzle ever sees anything he feels you should be concerned about, he will discuss it with you so that you know all of your options and have the best chance of successful treatment.