What Causes Oral Cancer?

Cancer is one of the most frightening diseases in existence. This is a condition that affects a huge number of people. Moreover, it strikes seemingly without warning and without reason. Mouth cancers will be newly diagnosed in about 145 new individuals each day in the US alone, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

What causes oral cancer?

Oral cancer is one of the more common forms of cancer and one of the more unsettling as it affects a part of your body that you can actually see. So what exactly causes oral cancer? How can you prevent it from affecting you?

Understanding Cancer

To understand the causes of any specific type of cancer, it is useful to first consider what cancer is and what causes it in the first place. Cancer is a common byproduct of unchecked cell division. Cells die all the time. Before they do, they are replaced by a process called mitosis, where one cell splits into two new ones. During this process, the cell uses the DNA stored in its nucleus in order to replicate an exact copy.

The problem occurs when a small error is included in this process. This small error may have no meaningful impact on the cell, or it might prevent it from working properly. If the body is healthy, then it will identify the cancerous cell and the immune system will destroy it. However, in some cases, the cancerous cells are allowed to survive. They then can replicate through mitosis and this then copies the cell with the faulty genetic code. This process repeats again and again until you have a large cluster of cancerous cells called a tumor. Should this tumor begin to engulf an organ, it can prevent it from working properly.
Further dangers occur seeing as cancerous cells can travel through the body via the bloodstream and then cause damage elsewhere, too.

Causes of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer specifically is therefore caused by unwanted mutations, just like every other form of cancer, in the throat and mouth. These can occur purely by chance and may be outside the realms of what an individual can control. But at the same time, the likelihood of such mutations occurring may be increased by the presence of certain triggers. For instance, smoking increases the risk of oral cancer. The smoke actually damages the cells and may eventually impact on the cell walls.
The same is true for the use of certain drugs, excessive sun exposure to the lips (the sun’s UV rays can cause cell damage), the human papillomavirus, and alcohol abuse. Conversely, the right lifestyle changes can actually help to prevent oral cancer.

So what foods can help prevent oral cancer? Well, the first and most obvious answer is ‘antioxidants’ which most of us have heard about by now. These are minerals found in a variety of fruits, vegetables and other food that help fight the ‘free radicals’ in our body that batter our cell walls – eventually risking damaging our DNA and causing the unwanted mutations that we know as cancer. Antioxidants are one of the best known cancer preventatives for this reason, and are also said to help prevent aging and to increase cognition. Great sources of antioxidants are vitamin C, fish oil (such as omega 3 fatty acid), tomatoes and celery; though they can also be taken as supplements.

Foods that Lower Cancer Risk

Anything that aids the immune system can also be considered a ‘food against cancer’. For example, vitamins such as vitamin C and B can help the body to target and eliminate cancerous cells as they arise and to produce the ‘antigens’ that protect us against various forms of cancer. ‘Probiotic’ yogurts too such as ‘Actimel’ also claim to help the immune system by containing (you guessed it) probiotics, suggesting that these too could help aid our bodies in the fight against breast cancer.

A recent finding, that is fast becoming a top-selling product, is resveratrol. Found in red wine and grapes, this is said to be a miracle drug that can greatly increase our life-spans, prevent human circulatory diseases, leave us with extra energy and help fight cancer. One of the ways it does the latter is to increase the function of our mitochondria, which as well as producing extra ATP (the ‘energy currency’ of life…) also helps protect cells. Furthermore, it’s also an antioxidant.

A wide range of phytochemicals – chemicals occurring in plants with un-defined positive characteristics such as beta-carotene – are also implicated in cancer prevention. Dietary fiber too, such as that found in nuts, wheat, grains and rice, is also said to help prevent breast cancer – it is thought through non-oestrogen pathways in postmenopausal women. As such other estrogen-fighting foods could also be beneficial such as tribulus terrestris, or celery. Fibre can also help prevent other forms of cancer – for example it can defend against colon cancer by keeping the digestive and intestinal tracts clear.

As a general rule then, a diet high in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants should be effective in helping prevent cancer – and that means lots of wheat, fruit, and veg! But at least you can wash it down with a glass of red wine.

Regency Family Dentistry Omaha | Best Omaha Dentist near Westroads Mall in Regency

Whether your teeth needs are a:

  • complete exam and cleaning,
  • full-mouth restoration
  • or anything in between

We promise to provide you with exceptional care as we enhance the natural beauty of your smile.  Below are just some of the many procedures and dental services we regularly provide to our patients – with a gentle touch, and stunning results.  Your smile is our first priority, and we’ll give you something to smile about.

Preventative Dentistry

  • Dental Exams
  • Dental Cleanings
  • Oral Cancer Exam
  • Fluoride Treatment
  • Sealants
  • Dental X-Rays
  • Home Care
  • Nightguards & Mouthguards

Cosmetic Dentistry

  • Dental Implants
  • Composite Fillings
  • Porcelain Crowns
  • FixedPorcelain Bridges
  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Tooth Whitening

Periodontal Disease

  • What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Maintenance

Restorative Dentistry

  • Dental Implants
  • Inlay Restorations
  • Onlay Restorations
  • Composite Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Dentures & Partial Dentures
  • Fixed Bridges
  • Root Canal Therapy

Oral Surgery

  • Wisdom Teeth Extractions

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