Can’t make it through the morning without a cup of coffee or two? Is the high point of your work day your trip to the coffee shop for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Caffeine addicts and coffee connoisseurs alike can rejoice at the latest findings reported by the American Dental Association: people who drink four or more cups of coffee every day may be at a lower risk for developing oral cancer.
In a study conducted by the American Cancer Society and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in December 2012, researchers tracked the health of 968,432 people who voluntarily participated in a long term cancer prevention study that launched in 1982. Over 26 years, 868 of the original participants died from some type of oral cancer. However, when researchers looked at lifestyle habits of those who were diagnosed with oral cancer, those who survived, and those who died, they found some interesting data. Compared to non-coffee drinkers or those who only imbibed a cup on occasion, study participants who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee every day had 49% lower risk for dying from oral cancer.
While researchers hesitate to say why regular coffee consumption corresponds to a decrease in oral cancer mortality, some point to the beverage’s high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, compounds that research says can help prevent the progression of cancer or development of cancerous cells. These new findings seem to validate other recent research from Italy, which demonstrated a relationship between coffee consumption and a 40% reduced risk of liver cancer.
If you don’t regularly drink coffee, you shouldn’t jump headlong into drinking four cups of coffee every day. Consuming too much caffeine can make you feel jittery, nervous, anxious, and confused and can even lead to diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, and nausea. Additionally, caffeine contraindicates with a wide number of health conditions and commonly prescribed medications and can cause serious problems if consumed in large quantities. However, if you regularly drink coffee, you can feel good about downing that 4th cup in the afternoon or on your drive home from work, knowing that you might be helping reduce your risk of oral cancer.
Of course, coffee alone is not enough to prevent oral cancer. Lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking alcohol, as well as the presence of the Human-Papilloma virus (HPV) are better predictors of oral cancer than coffee consumption. According to the American Dental Association, regular checkups with your family dentist are your best bet for prevention and early detection of oral cancer.
At Snow Park Dental, Dr. Miller provides the preventive and restorative dental care you need to help you enjoy optimal oral health. Oral cancer screenings are an essential part of every routine checkup performed at Snow Park Dental. Contact us today at (505) 596-4479 to schedule a consultation or appointment. We proudly serve families from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Corrales, Edgewood, Tijeras, Los Lunas, and surrounding communities.
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