How You Can Prevent Oral Cancer, Even if You Smoke

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and if you know anything about the risk factors for the disease, you know that tobacco use is the single biggest risk factor for oral cancer.

The most recent statistics show that tobacco is responsible for 50% of oral cancer cases. While those statistics need to be measured again because of rapidly increasing cases of HPV16-related oral cancer, the fact remains: using tobacco products significantly increases your chance of developing oral cancer. If you smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars, or if you use smokeless tobacco, you are at risk.

But there’s good news: a recent study, conducted by the British Dental Foundation, has linked the consumption of leafy green vegetables with the reduction of oral cancer risk among female smokers. For every one serving of the vegetables, the risk decreased for the women studied (when compared to women who have quit or never smoked).

Some other foods that can help you prevent oral cancer include:

  • Foods rich in Omega 3, like fish, eggs, and flax seed
  • Foods high in fiber, such as brown rice, whole what breads and pastas, nuts, and seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables, especially those high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E

Of course, quitting tobacco combined with a healthy diet will further increase your chance of avoiding oral cancer. People with no known risk factors do develop oral cancer, but the percentage is very low.

I’m Dr. James DeFinnis, and your oral health is important to me. Call Back Mountain Dental to schedule a consultation or appointment. I offer general and sedation dentistry for patients in Trucksville, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and surrounding areas.

Thanks to The Britsh Health Foundation for their blog post “Eat your greens to reduce oral cancer risk”.

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