Risk factors are something we all need to keep in mind for conditions like cancer, and the realm of oral cancer is no exception. While certain risk factors for oral cancer are genetic and cannot be changed by individual behavior, others are lifestyle-related and can be controlled to varying degrees – and knowing about all of these risk factors is important.
At Bynum Aesthetic Dentistry, we care about helping our patients around Simpsonville and other parts of South Carolina be cognizant of oral cancer and its risk factors. We offer regular oral cancer screenings for this especially dangerous form of cancer, helping catch it as early as possible to allow for ideal treatment. Here are some of the key risk factors for oral cancer, both genetic and otherwise, and whether those who fall into these categories should consider more frequent oral cancer screenings.
Unfortunately for men, research has consistently shown that oral cancer is much more common in males than females. While both genders should be aware of the potential risk, men are more likely to contract this form of cancer and may need to consider having more frequent screenings.
Another relatively uncontrollable factor which often is associated with oral cancer risk is age. Those over 40 are much likelier than younger individuals to be diagnosed with this form of cancer, and it’s important for people in this age group to regularly check in with their dentist for regular screenings.
One of the most well-known lifestyle factors when it comes to oral cancer risk is the use of tobacco. This includes smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, cigars, cigarettes and more – basically anything derived from or related to smoking tobacco leaves carries a heightened risk.
We recommend quitting all forms of vaping and smoking for overall health reasons, but even those who have quit can still be at a higher-than-average risk for oral cancer. Regular screenings may still be necessary for those who have quit, even if the risk is lower.
Another lifestyle-related risk factor for oral cancer is excess weight; research has linked being overweight or obese to an increased risk of developing this form of cancer. We recommend healthy diets and regular exercise as part of a holistic approach to overall health, which includes avoiding the risk factors associated with oral cancer.
Exposure to UV Light
Due to the fact that the face and mouth are exposed to direct sunlight, those who spend a lot of time outdoors may be at an increased risk for oral cancer. Wearing sunscreen on the face is a smart preventative measure, as well as wearing hats or other forms of protective headgear when out in the sun.
At Bynum Aesthetic Dentistry, we take your oral health seriously and offer screenings for oral cancer as part of a comprehensive dental exam. If you have any concerns or questions about oral cancer screenings or any of our other dental services, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss further.