Dental Tips Blog


Catch Oral Cancer Early!

Posted in Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is one of those deadly diseases that catches most of its victims entirely off-guard.

Individuals affected by oral cancer don’t realize they have it until it’s too late. Oral cancer can cause difficulty speaking, breathing, eating, or swallowing. But by the time these symptoms show up, the cancer is usually beyond the point of responding to treatment.

Ironically, oral cancer is usually very easy to treat . . . as long as it’s caught early enough.

How can you find out your oral cancer risk before it’s too late?

The first thing to do is visit your dentist.

Oral Cancer Screenings at the Dentist

Routine dental checkups typically include a thorough oral cancer screening. Your dentist will examine your tongue, gums, lips, cheeks, and throat for unusual patches, wounds, discoloration, or scars. Even normal-looking lesions will be noted and tracked for changes down the road.

Biopsies by the Oral Surgeon

Oral surgeons are dental specialists trained to perform surgery on the gums and bone in your mouth and other tissues in and around it.

When it comes to removing tumors and suspicious growths or simply taking a biopsy, an oral surgeon is the one to visit. Your dentist can refer you out to an experienced surgeon in the area if you have a questionable spot in your mouth.

Lower Your Risk for Oral Cancer

Visit your dentist to learn what you can do to reduce your individual risk for oral cancer. This may involve cutting back on alcohol consumption and/or quitting tobacco use. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist will also help you keep your mouth healthy and comfortable for years to come.

Posted on behalf of:
Smile Design Studios
6130 Highway 6
Missouri City, TX 77459
(281) 969-7388


Why Does My Tongue Look Like This?

Posted in Oral Cancer

Not all tongues are pink and pretty at all times! Here are some of the main causes behind some unusual tongue appearances.

Your Tongue Looks: Patchy

What that could mean: This could be a condition called “geographic tongue” when patches of the surface become red and resemble the outline of countries on a map. Geographic tongue is not a dangerous condition.

Your Tongue Looks: White or Yellow

What that could mean: A white or yellow coating on your tongue may signify microbial growth. You could have a lot of bacterial plaque on your tongue’s rough surface.

Do you see any white patches on your throat or mouth, as well? Do you use an inhaler? Is your immune system compromised? If so, then the white coating could be a sign of a fungal infection called candidiasis (yeast infection).

White patches on your tongue (leukoplakia) could indicate patches of tissue your dentist should monitor for signs of oral cancer.

Your Tongue Looks: Black and/or Hairy

What that could mean: Medications such as digestive aids or chemotherapy can cause your tongue to darken. Your tongue may start to look “hairy” if the natural little bumps on the surface (papillae) start to lengthen instead of shedding cells, as they normally do. These long papillae can stain from foods, drinks, cigarette smoke, etc. and look like long black hair. Black hairy tongue is harmless and temporary.

Your Tongue Looks: Bright Red and Swollen

What that could mean: This condition most often indicates a vitamin B deficiency, but if it’s accompanied by a fever, you should see your doctor right away.

Do you have other questions about your oral health? Contact your local dentist to learn more.

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000


Smoking and Your Dental Health

Posted in Oral Cancer

Your cigarettes are holding you back and putting your teeth at risk. We know you’re thinking, “You’re a dentist! My smoking has nothing to do with my teeth.” Your dentist has news for you: tobacco use is a risk to your smile just as much it is your overall health.

Oral Cancer: It Doesn’t Matter Whether You Inhale

Everyone knows about the risks for lung and throat cancer, but not everyone knows that tobacco can also cause oral cancers, including your tongue, cheeks, and lips. If you’re keeping your six month cleaning appointments, our dentists will also include an oral cancer screening as part of your exam.

In between your dental visits, keep an eye on your lips, cheeks, and tongue. Sores or white patches, lack of feeling or pain in your tongue, and loose teeth are all symptoms of oral cancer. If you start seeing any of these symptoms, make an appointment right away.

Other Dental Risks

Although cancer is the biggest risk of tobacco use, there are plenty of other health hazards it can cause. Periodontal disease is caused and exacerbated by tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco products are even worse for your gums than cigarettes and cigars. They frequently contain added sugar for taste, as well as tiny irritants that cause receding gum lines. Aside from the contribution to plaque buildup, the combination of sugar and grit wears down your teeth and creates inflammation in your gums.

There is no time like today to commit to quitting your tobacco habit. Don’t forget to make your appointment every six months for a cleaning and oral cancer screening. You’ll start your new journey with a fresh mouth, which will give you one more reason to stick to it!

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000


Do You Know the Signs of Oral Cancer?

Posted in Oral Cancer

Every year, an estimated 50,000 adults in the United States are diagnosed with some form of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is usually easy to treat. But it can quickly turn deadly if not caught in time.

Regular dental checkups are your best resource for staying on top of your oral cancer risk and diagnosis.

At the same time, staying alert to changes in your own mouth can help increase your chances of early detection.

Possible Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

One or more of the following signs doesn’t guarantee that you have cancer, but they still merit inspection by a dentist:

  • A strange growth in your mouth
  • Thickening tissues
  • White patches
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A sore that doesn’t heal and/or keeps bleeding
  • Tongue pain
  • Stiff jaw
  • Denture not fitting like it used to

Get into the habit of examining your mouth at least once a week so that if something changes, you’ll notice it right away. If the change doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks, you should see a dentist.

Carefully examine your gums, the back of your throat, all sides of your tongue, the inside of your cheeks, and both the inside and outside of your lips.

Are You at Risk?

Oral cancer can affect anyone, but it’s most common among males over the age of 40. People who use tobacco, abuse alcohol, or who are exposed to a lot of sunlight on a regular basis are also at increased risk.

Plan a checkup at your local dental office which includes an oral cancer screening. Talk with your dentist to find out more about early detection and lowering your risk for oral cancer.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336


Should Your Family Use Mouthwash?

Posted in Oral Cancer

Mouthwash is an essential breath-freshener for most people. Others avoid it because they fear ingredients that can supposedly lead to oral cancer.

Is mouthwash safe? Should you stock it with your family’s hygiene supplies?

Know What’s in Your Mouthwash

Mouthwashes won’t cause oral cancer. Some people worry about this because most rinses contain alcohol. The alcohol itself doesn’t have any health benefits. It’s just a preservative and helps the other ingredients to stay evenly mixed.

The alcohol content won’t increase your risk for oral cancer if you only rinse for 30 seconds or less every day.

Choose the Right Mouthwash

Mouthwash can be a very effective adjunct to your oral hygiene routine. Just make sure that you choose a formula that contains things that will help your family.

Some rinses are little more than alcohol and flavoring. These blends will ironically only dry out your mouth and potentially increase the risk of bad breath.

Other mouthwashes contain fluoride, which strengthens enamel against cavities. Still others contain antibacterial agents such as essential oils to prevent plaque bacteria buildup.

If you choose to use a mouthwash, remember that it’s not a replacement for brushing and flossing. Select one that will deliver the benefits your family needs.

Keep Mouthwash Out of Reach of Children

Even kids’ mouth rinses can be dangerous if ingested in large quantities. Keep those sweet colorful formulas high out of the reach of your kids so that they aren’t tempted to drink it like juice.

Mouthwashes can be very effective, but you need to know how to use them.

If you’d like to add a mouth rinse to your family’s routine, ask your general dentist for advice.

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000


What Your Dentist is Looking for During an Oral Cancer Exam

Posted in Oral Cancer

You’ve just sat down for your dental checkup, and your dentist seems to be looking all over your mouth…and even around your neck…but not your teeth. What on earth is going on? Did you pop by the wrong office?

No. It’s just that your dentist is set on conducting a thorough oral cancer screening. You see, most people don’t realize that you can be extremely healthy, never use tobacco products, and still be at risk of developing this extremely deadly disease.

Early diagnosis of pathological or precancerous tissues is the very best way to treat it, because therapy can be started sooner.

That’s why your dentist is looking for signs of:

  • Cellular changes in the appearance of your soft tissues…especially in the floor of the mouth, on your palate, and along your tongue.
  • Sores that don’t seem to heal, or tissues that look different than those around them.
  • Swelling or lumps along the lymph nodes in your head and neck.

Oral cancer is something that can affect just about anyone. Risk factors include everything from tobacco use and sun exposure to viruses like HPV. That’s why it’s impossible to know whether or not you’re ever completely in the clear. Your dentist will need to include your oral cancer screening as part of your bi-annual or yearly checkup.

If you haven’t ever had an oral cancer exam or don’t remember the last time you did, let your family dentist know. Finding this pathology on your own is extremely difficult to do, until the cancer reaches advanced stages. An exam could save your life!

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000


A Second Opinion on Oral Cancer

Posted in Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is more common than most Americans realize. This type of cancer is one of the easiest to treat, but it’s also easy to miss. If you wait too long to take action, it can cause serious problems. The most effective way to treat oral cancer is to diagnose it as early as possible.

What if your dentist identifies a suspicious spot in your mouth at your next dental checkup?

It’s important that you don’t wait too long before taking action. But it’s okay to ask around before settling on a treatment course.

Why Get a Second Opinion?

Patients often seek a second opinion because:

  • They cannot contact a cancer expert, so they ask another general practitioners
  • They want more options for treating the cancer
  • The diagnosis is such a rare and obscure condition that it requires the support of another opinion or two

It’s understandable that you’ll want extra emotional support at this time. That’s why you’ll probably find it helpful to talk with people you know who’ve dealt with cancer in the past. Or you might feel better talking with your trusted primary care physician for recommendations.

Getting the First Opinion

Start out by scheduling a routine checkout with your local dentist. A basic dental examination includes a careful oral cancer screening.

It’s also a good idea to be familiar with any unusual sores or spots that develop or show up in your own mouth. If you notice something strange, you can bring it to the attention of a dental expert. You’ll also learn from your dentist about what you can do to lower your risk for oral cancer. Call your dentist today to schedule.

Posted on behalf of:
Basin Dentistry
5016 Briarwood Ave
Midland, TX 79707
(462) 699-7334


What to Ask Your Dentist About Oral Cancer

Posted in Oral Cancer

Cancer is a scary topic.

The most unlikely people can be diagnosed seemingly overnight with the most unpredictable and aggressive diseases known to humans. Annually, oral cancer claims the lives of some 9,000 Americans.

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) states that most deaths caused by oral cancer are because they are discovered too late, and NOT because they are too difficult to treat.

Early detection is key.

The goal is not to make you paranoid, but rather to alert you to the potential danger. Bring these questions along with you to your next dental checkup to make sure you fully understand your cancer risk.

“What are my risk factors?”

The likelihood of oral cancer is connected to factors like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle
  • Immune health

A dental professional will best help you understand your unique situation.

“How might cancer treatment affect my dental health and treatment?”

When caught early, cancer treatment is more effective. Treatment for advanced cases can affect what you eat and even how you brush your teeth. This is serious business, so it’s important to get suspicious areas checked out early.

“What signs should I look for at home?”

Your dentist will let you know how you to carefully check your own mouth and tongue at home. A self-exam will keep you in-tune with your body and be aware of changes as soon as they develop.

“How can I lower my risk?”

An experienced dentist will give you the best tips on keeping your mouth as healthy as possible. You’ll also learn how cancer develops and how to reduce your risk factors.

Find out more by scheduling a cancer screening at your local dental office.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206
Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999


4 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Oral Cancer

Posted in Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is scary. It’s nothing trivial, that’s for sure! It tends to be overlooked as something not very serious. It’s also dangerous for the fact that it can sneak up and become a big problem before you’re even aware of it.

Putting the following five points into practice will help you to lower your risk for oral cancer.

  1. Wear SPF on Your Lips

The skin on your lips is different from that inside your mouth. Skin cancer can develop differently there. But even the outside of your lips is very close to inside your mouth. Keeping your lips healthy and protected with SPF lipbalm will spare the rest of your mouth some potentially serious complications.

  1. Say “No” to Tobacco and Alcohol

Drugs such as chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol irritate the sensitive tissues in the mouth. Cutting them out altogether is the single best way to lower your risk for developing cancer.

  1. Switch Up the Location

If you feel that you aren’t yet ready to quit the chew or snuff, then at least try to move it around. These substances trigger unnatural changes in the sensitive cells of their surroundings. The longer the cells are exposed to the chemicals, the more they will change.

  1. Get Regular Examinations

Early detection is the best cure for almost any cancer. Oral cancer can be absolutely devastating, if not treated as soon as possible. Doing a self-exam on a regular basis will keep you alert to changes in your own mouth. Visit your dentist for regular examinations to make sure you get a thorough checkup and cancers screening twice a year.

Posted on behalf of:
Crabapple Dental
12670 Crabapple Rd #110
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(678) 319-0123


Early Warning Signs Of Oral Cancer

Posted in Oral Cancer

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. Approximately one person dies from oral cancer every hour.  While oral cancer can be greatly prevented with healthy lifestyle choices, early detection remains an important factor in surviving oral cancer.

Maybe It’s Oral Cancer

Sometimes the smallest symptoms can be the first warning sign of oral cancer. The key to early detection is paying attention to your oral health and any changes that persist for several days or weeks and notifying your dentist. Do you know the early symptoms of oral cancer?

  • A Constant mouth sore or ulcer that just won’t heal
  • White, red or a mixture of white and red patches on the gums, tongue or lining of the mouth
  • A persistent lump on your lip, in your mouth, in your throat or on your neck
  • Difficulty or pain associated with chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw and tongue
  • Loosening of the teeth or painful teeth without any obvious dental reason
  • Unusual bleeding, pain or numbness of the tongue or mouth
  • A sensation that a lump or something is caught in your throat
  • Ear pain that doesn’t affect your hearing
  • Sudden, unexpected weight loss
  • Ear or jaw pain that does not resolve itself
  • Voice changes, hoarseness or a persistent sore throat
  • Swelling that causes denture discomfort or poor fit

If you’re experiencing any of these persistent conditions, your dentist may recommend special tests to rule out the possibility of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Prevention

Your best defense against oral cancer is by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as stopping tobacco use, and having routine oral cancer screenings at your regular dental checkups. Call your dentist today to make an appointment.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050 

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