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How to Lower Your Risk of Mouth Cancer: What You Should Know

While you can’t always prevent oral cancer, there are certain things you can do to reduce your chances of getting it. Read on to learn how you can lower your risk of mouth cancer.

What is mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer refers to any cancer that develops in the oral cavity. Cancer can occur on the:

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Gums
  • Inner lining of the cheeks
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Underneath the tongue

Tumours can also occur in the salivary glands, tonsils and the pharynx (the part of the throat from your mouth to your windpipe) but these are less common.

Who is most likely to get cancer?

While it’s not always clear what causes mouth cancer, you are more likely to get it if:

  • You smoke or chew tobacco
  • You drink a lot of alcohol
  • You have leukoplakia
  • You have had exposure to lots of sunlight or sunbeds
  • You’ve had cancer before
  • You have a weakened immune system – e.g. you have AIDS and HIV

It’s worth noting that mouth cancer has also been linked to having changes in your genes and having some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in your mouth. Additionally, cancers of the mouth often take years to develop so they are not common in young people. Most people are over 40 when cancer is first found and the average age of diagnosis is around 60.

What are some common signs and symptoms of mouth cancer?

Some common signs and symptoms that may indicate you have mouth cancer include:

  • A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal
  • A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • A growth or lump inside your mouth
  • Mouth pain
  • Ear pain
  • Difficult or painful swallowing

You should speak to your GP if these symptoms do not heal within 3 weeks, especially if you’re a heavy drinker or smoker.

How can I lower my risk of mouth cancer?

While you can’t always prevent mouth cancer, there are certain things you can do to lower your chances of getting it:

  • Eat a balanced diet, including 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get the HPV vaccine and practise safe sex
  • Try to cut down on alcohol
  • Try to quit smoking
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Get regular dental checkups

Getting regular dental check-ups is key to looking after your oral health. If you’re looking for a highly rated and experienced private dentist near you in Stretford who offers a fantastic treatment range at competitive prices, Riyo Dental can help. Our dental clinic is dedicated to ensuring your experience is as stress-free and comfortable as possible – to find out more about our general dentistry services, please get in touch with us today.

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