Every day, our bodies work hard to defend us against germs and as well as a long list of other harmful pathogens. In an effort to see what increases the bodya��s defense against harmful illness such as cancer, there has been a strong body of research over the past 50 years that has established a link between diet and cancer.
In the case of oral cancer, ita��s first important to understand that our oral tissues are under constant attack from outside factors. Leta��s take a closer look at some of the main causes of oral cancer, as well as how diet a�� specifically, eating antioxidants a�� can work to prevent it.
Harmful Factors that Work Against Proper Dental Hygiene
Studies prove that oral cancer is becoming a leading threat to global public health. Oral tissue health is threatened by bad dietary choices and even dental materials like bleaching compounds and bonding agents.
If youa��re interested in pursuing dental hygienist training, then youa��ve probably guessed the leading cause of oral cancer: tobacco use. Smoking and chewing tobacco are the main causes in the development or oral cancer, with alcohol coming in close second place.
Luckily, one of the most effective lifestyle choices people can make to prevent and control cancer is proper nutrition. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants is proven to both help the body prevent oral cancer, and also decrease precancerous oral tissue lesions.
Dental Hygienists Recommend Antioxidants to Promote Oral Health
By repairing cell damage, powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C and E are strongly believed to prevent and fight cancer. Dental assistants can recommend that patients consume more foods rich in vitamin C, such as:
- Citrus fruits
For foods high in vitamin E, patients can up their intake of:
On top of vitamins C and E, bioflavonoids and phytonutrients like beta carotene are antioxidants that can also be found in foods that help reduce the risk of cancer. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A, which boosts the bodya��s immune function and has loads of other benefits. Patients can increase their vitamin A intake through eating carrots, peppers, leafy greens, squash, onions, and apples. They can also drink green tea to reap the benefits of these powerful antioxidants.
Why Dental Hygienists Should Recommend a Healthy Diet Over Supplements
While you may learn the importance of a healthy diet for optimal oral health in dental hygienist school, some patients might try to replace eating antioxidant rich foods with taking vitamin supplements instead.
Planning out a specific, healthy diet can be frustrating for some, but taking vitamin supplements doesna��t have quite the same effect as food does. Leta��s use eating an apple as an example of this. Whereas taking a vitamin A supplement may be convenient, studies show that the cancer-fighting effects of antioxidants are most powerful in conjunction with the other nutrients found in foods. In other words, when an apple is eaten, the vitamin A in it is more effective when the body processes it with the all the fiber, beta carotene and other nutrients it contains, than if a patient simply took a vitamin A capsule.
Do you know of any other antioxidant rich foods that could help fight oral cancer?