I would like to thank Chris Iliades, MD for the following article. Oral cancer is on the increase and with early detection, it is curable.
Help Prevent Oral Cancer With Good Dental Care
Studies have shown a link between oral cancer and neglected teeth and gums. Here are simple steps you can start today.
By Chris Iliades, MD
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
Tobacco use and heavy alcohol drinking are considered the main causes of oral, head, and neck cancer. Recently, poor dental care, common in people with oral cancer, has been added to the list of risk factors.
Taking Care of Your Teeth: Why it Matters
Many studies have looked at the possible connection between the lack of proper dental care and oral cancer. A study published in 2007 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that poor condition of the mouth and missing teeth were indeed among the causes of head and neck cancer. The study was the largest ever to examine the link between poor oral care, oral cancer, and other head and neck cancers. On the flip side, the researchers also found that frequent dental care lowered the risk of oral cancer.
Dental care is also an important part of the treatment for oral cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with oral cancer, you should know that dental problems such as gum disease, cavities, and poorly fitting dentures can get worse during your oral cancer treatment. X-ray treatment in particular can harm the salivary glands, which supply the saliva that moistens and protects your mouth from infection. Pain from diseased teeth and gums can make it difficult for you to complete oral cancer treatment.
Good Dental Care: Tips to Help Prevent or Manage Oral Cancer
The bottom line: Gum disease, cavities, broken teeth, crowns or fillings, and poorly fitting dentures are all the results of poor dental care, a cause of oral cancer; and oral cancer treatment can cause all these dental problems to get worse. Regular dental care can help prevent oral cancer from starting or coming back. Protect yourself against oral cancer by maintaining a good daily oral health routine at home and through regular visits to your dentist.