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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are ways to help prevent oral cancer?

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  • Qualification : BDSc, Bachelor of Dental Science, University of Western Australia 1994 View Profile

    It is important to maintain good oral hygiene for yourself at home .
    It is recommended that you visit your dentist at regular 6 monthly intervals for your general check up, and routine scale and cleaning sessions. 
    Your dentist is trained to screen for oral cancer , and will assess your oral health for you.   
    If any abnormalities are noticed by your dentist, you will be sent to an oral pathologist for further diagnostics, and appropriate management.
    Patients who are at higher risk of developing oral cancers are found to have Poor Oral Hygiene standards, in addition to being  Heavy Cigarette smokers and Heavy Alcohol consumers.
    Thus abstaining from,  or reducing amount of ,  smoking and alcohol will help prevent oral cancer developing.   

  • Oral cancer risk increases with  exposure to smoking and alcohol consumption. When both are consumed together the risk increases dramatically. In some cultures chewing of products like betel nut can increase the risk to oral cancer.

    Exposure to human papilloma virus (HPV) can also increase the risk of oral cancer. There is a vaccine currently for this virus which you may wish to speak to your medical general practitioner about. 

    Exposure to too much sun can also increase the risk of oral cancer especially around the lip region. Use an SPF 20 lip balm if you are out in the sun a lot.

    Like all cancers early detection is crucial. Have regular dental examinations and your dentist should be able to tell you if there are any abnormalities in your mouth and if there is something of concern, a visit to a specialist for a biopsy will be made.

    Hope this helps.

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