Oral cancer is a serious medical condition. It has one of the highest death rates. According to the Oral Cancer Society (oralcancerfoundation.co/facts), nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. So, what can you do to prevent oral cancer?

Certainly, the first line of advice is to immediately stop using any tobacco products. There is no safe form of tobacco use. The nicotine in tobacco is absorbed into your gum tissues and adversely affects your oral health. Next, eat your cruciferous vegetables!

Your doctor has probably advised you at some point to make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables to increase the healthy nutrients in your diet. While this is excellent advice, they should also mention how important it is to choose cruciferous veggies two or three times per week. Many people tend to avoid this variety of vegetables that include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts because of the characteristic strong flavor. The way these vegetables are prepared can make a difference in how appetizing they are, so people should experiment with different recipes to find which preparation method they enjoy most.

Most people do not pay much attention to which foods are best for them and why cruciferous vegetables are more healthy than other types. You may simply choose your favorite foods and try to include a serving of vegetables at least once every day. You are probably wondering why cruciferous vegetables are so much healthier than the ones you prefer, so the following facts may be of interest to you:

  • Glucosinolates are natural chemicals which are converted to cancer fighting compounds, and these chemicals are also responsible for the pungent flavor characteristic of cruciferous vegetables.
  • In addition to the substantial fiber supplied by cruciferous vegetables, people who include several servings per week gain carotenoids, potassium, folate and the vitamins K, E and E. These nutrients help to protect their vision and may also prevent age-related macular degeneration.
  • Cancer is a diagnosis that strikes fear in the heart of people who get that devastating report from their doctor. You have probably heard more about breast cancer than other types. However, oral cancer is more common than you might think. When you include cruciferous vegetables that contain cancer preventing compounds in your diet, you help to avoid cancer of any kind.
  • The fact that eating cruciferous vegetables helps your body fight inflammation also makes these a good addition to a healthy diet, and reduced inflammation can result in good heart health.

What are the cruciferous vegetables that prevent oral cancer?

Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Brassicaceae family. Common cruciferous veggies found in American grocery stores include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, radishes, and there are many more. You can eat these veggies cooked or raw. Generally, the fresher you can buy and consume cruciferous vegetables, the better. You absorb more of the beneficial nutrients to prevent oral cancer.

See your dentist regularly

Regular dental checkups are also important for good oral health, so make sure your dentist checks for signs of oral cancer during your examination. In addition, eat a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables; especially those of the cruciferous variety.

If you have questions about your oral health or how to prevent oral cancer, talk to your regular dentist. He or she is trained to find oral cancers. Let them know if you find or feel strange lesions or spots on your gum tissues. They may also appear on your tongue, bottom of your tongue, or cheek walls. Some of these may go away on their own over time. But if they persist, your dentist will recommend follow up care, such as biopsy, to ensure it’s not oral cancer.

In the meantime, hit the cruciferous vegetables aisle at the grocery store! Your body and mouth will thank you later for it!