Treat dental infections and badly aligned teeth to prevent oral cancer: HCFI
Non-smokers with poor oral hygiene have an equal risk of acquiring the condition
Estimates indicate that lip and oral cancer cases in India have more than doubled in the last six years. It is imperative to attend to bad dental hygiene, broken, sharp or irregularly aligned teeth immediately to prevent the condition.
Speaking about Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, "Use of tobacco can cause oral precancerous lesions such as oral submucous fibrosis, which can put the user at risk of developing oral cancer. Apart from this it can also predispose the user to other infections in the mouth. In India, the use of smokeless tobacco (SLT) remains the dominant cause of tobacco-attributable diseases, including cancer of the oral cavity (mouth), esophagus (food pipe) and pancreas. SLT not only causes adverse health effects but also accounts for a huge economic burden."
Some other risk factors for oral cancer include a weakened immune system, a family history of oral or other types of cancer, being male, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, prolonged sun exposure, age, poor oral hygiene, poor diet or nutrition, etc.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, "Use of SLT mixed with areca nut is a common practice in India and as stated in the beginning, betel quid and gutka, the two most commonly used forms of SLT have areca nut as a common ingredient. Areca nut itself is classified as a class one carcinogenic, that is, having cancer-causing properties, besides other adverse health effects."
Some tips from HCFI
· Do not use tobacco. If you are a user, take immediate steps to quit.
· Consume alcohol in moderation
· Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun – use lip balms with SPF of 30 or higher.
· Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, while avoiding or limiting the intake of junk and processed food.
· Try short-acting nicotine replacement therapy as things such as lozenges, nicotine gums, etc.
· Identify the trigger situation, which makes you smoke. Have a plan in place to avoid these or get through them alternatively.
· Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy, or munch raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds instead of tobacco.
· Get physically active. Short bursts of physical activity such as running up and down the stairs a few times can make a tobacco craving go away.
Dr K K Aggarwal