Dietary factors have been identified as having a possible association with oral
cancer. But, accumulated scientific evidence shows that use of tobacco and alcohol
increases oral cancer risk and far outweighs any evidence linking a deficient diet
to increased risk.
Low beta-carotene intake has been associated with an increased risk of lung, laryngeal,
gastric, ovarian, breast, cervical and oral cancers.
Various studies have shown that a low intake of fruits and vegetables, which are
the primary sources of beta- carotene, is also related to a generalized increased
cancer risk and mortality.
At the same time, an increased consumption of fruits and/or vegetables has been
associated with a decreased risk of oral or oropharyngeal cancer when compared with
low intake levels.
Low intake of vitamin C has been associated with an increased risk of cancers of
the stomach, oesophagus, oral cavity and larynx. Patients who consume high levels
of vitamin C and fibre have half the risk of oral cancer as those with the lowest
level of intake.
According to one study, patients with low serum levels of vitamin E had more than
double the general risk of gastrointestinal cancers. In another study, which evaluated
more than 2,000 cases, the use of vitamin E supplements showed a diminished risk
for oral and pharyngeal cancer.
It has been found in dietary studies across multiple cultures that high fruit consumption
has a protective effect and high alcohol consumption has a carcinogenic effect.