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How to Avoid Oral Cancer

How to Avoid Oral Cancer

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Oral Cancer Dentist Holland, MIWhile oral cancer can be deadly, it’s treatable if caught early. Regular oral cancer screenings can alert your dentist to signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer can strike regardless of lifestyle factors, but there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk.

Here’s what our dentist wants you to know about avoiding oral cancer.

Quit Smoking

Cigarettes are known to cause lung cancer, but did you know they’re one of the leading causes of oral cancer as well? Even just smoking the occasional cigar is enough to increase your chances of developing oral cancer.

But non-smokers aren’t automatically in the clear. Tobacco in any form is dangerous, including chewing tobacco or snuff. If you haven’t already kicked your tobacco habit, this is a good time to start: 75% of oral cancer patients age 50 and older have been tobacco users.

Drink Alcohol in Moderation

When it comes to alcohol, the less you drink, the better. Oral cancer is six times more likely to develop in drinkers than in non-drinkers. Studies have linked cirrhosis of the liver as well as dehydration that occurs when drinking to the formation of oral cancer cells.

Apply Lip Balm with SPF

Just as you would apply sunscreen before heading to the beach, you should be protecting your lips as well. Excess sun exposure around your mouth can lead to oral cancer.

Most types of sunscreen that you buy for your body aren’t optimized for use on the lips. To protect against oral cancer, opt for a lip balm with SPF and reapply throughout the day for maximum protection. It also helps to wear a wide-brimmed hat that keeps the sun off your face.

Know Your Medical History

If you have a family history of any type of cancer, you run a higher risk of developing oral cancer. While a family history certainly doesn’t guarantee that you’ll experience cancer firsthand, learning about your genetic predispositions can help you make mindful choices regarding your oral health.

It’s a good idea to bring up your family history during your oral cancer screening, as well. Our family dentist in Holland, MI, can advise you about reducing your risk long-term.

Consider Getting the HPV Vaccine

Certain types of human papillomavirus, or HPV, can increase your risk of oral cancer. If you’re eligible, consider getting the HPV vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus altogether, thereby reducing your chances of developing oral cancer.

At your oral cancer screening, our dentist will look for visible abnormalities and probe the mouth to feel for anything unusual. It’s important to be honest with Dr. Habecker about your lifestyle so he can work with you to prevent oral cancer.

See Our Dentist Regularly

Even if you don’t have risk factors for oral cancer, it’s still important that you see our dentist at least every 6 months for preventive dental care. That way, we’ll be able to perform an oral cancer screening and detect any abnormalities in their early stages. The earlier we’re able to detect cancer, the better your chance of survival.

Seeing our dentist regularly will also help you maintain better overall health. It’s important to understand that the body is made up of interconnected systems. Also, plenty of research has shown a connection between oral hygiene and other conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In other words, when you take care of your mouth you’re also taking care of the rest of your body!

Learn More: 5 Medical Problems Your Teeth Can Predict >>

Call Macatawa Smiles Today!

Oral cancer can be scary, but it can be cured if it’s caught early. Our dentist in Holland, MI, wants to help you maintain a healthy smile through preventive dentistry. To request an appointment with Dr. Habecker, call Macatawa Smiles at (616) 396-7524.

This blog post has been updated.


Dear Patient Family,

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care and we appreciate your understanding while we kept our office closed to follow orders from the Governor's Office.

We are happy to say that we are opening our office for all patient treatment on June 1st, 2020. Our hours of operation will go back to normal, Monday-Thursday 8am - 5pm. We want you to know that there will be some changes at your next appointment. Please be patient with us as our protocols will inevitably change as new guidelines are released.

  • We ask that you use our parking lot as the waiting room.
  • Please wear a mask when you come into the office and leave it on until entering the treatment room. Homemade is acceptable.
  • Only the person receiving treatment should come in the building, all others will be asked to wait in the car if at all possible. The exception will be for our minor patients who may have one parent accompany them.
  • We will be asking you some questions when you arrive at the office and we will also be taking your temperature.
  • We will not be able to offer magazines, drinks, or toys at this time as they cannot be disinfected to our standards. Eventually this will change and we will be happy to offer our amenities once again.

These changes have been made to adhere to the latest CDC guidelines and for the benefit of our patients and our staff. We want you to know that our office has always taken the safety of our patients very seriously and that we will continue to follow the highest levels of sterilization and disinfection to keep you protected. If you would like more information on what measures we have taken we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

We cannot say how excited we are to see all of our patients again and to provide for their dental needs. We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces soon!

Dr. Habecker and Team