Dental Tips Blog

Oct
20

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

Mar
9

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

Aug
22

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

May
13

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

May
6

When Should You Visit an Oral Surgeon?

Posted in Oral Surgery

While oral surgeons are known for extracting teeth, most people aren’t aware of what else they can do.

What occasions necessitate treatment with an oral surgeon?

Procedures commonly offered at oral surgery centers include:

  • Sleep apnea treatment
  • Facial reconstruction
  • Jaw surgery
  • Removal of tumors and cysts
  • Oral cancer diagnosis
  • Repairing birth defects

So what’s the difference between your dentist and an oral surgeon?

General Dentist vs. Oral Surgeon

General dentists and oral surgeons both complete at least four years of education. Individuals who want to specialize in surgery go on to study for another 3-6 years. A surgeon then focuses on treating conditions in procedures like those listed above.

Your regular dentist is often your first line of defense when it comes to dental care. He or she is the one you’ll visit for a checkup, or dental cleaning. If you need a more complicated procedure requiring surgery, your dentist will refer you to a reputable oral surgeon in your area.

When to Go?

In rebuilding facial structures, you want a surgeon who knows the anatomy best. After a car accident, for example, you may need to go to an ER right away. But once you’re stabilized, it’s time to call in an oral surgeon.

If your dentist says you should see a surgeon for something like a biopsy, then you probably shouldn’t put it off. But if your condition isn’t urgent and you just want to make an esthetic change or two, then you have a little more freedom in choosing when to go.

You can also do a search for oral surgeons in your area and contact one if you’re interested in finding out more.

Posted on behalf of:
Gwinnett Family Dental Care
3455 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 921-1115

Nov
30

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

Nov
30

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

Mar
14

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 

Mar
8

Detecting Oral Cancer Early With a Brush Biopsy

Posted in Oral Cancer

Did you know that approximately one person dies from oral cancer every hour, every day, every year? Of those that are diagnosed, barely more than half will still be living five years after their diagnosis, in great part due to late detection. As the rate of oral cancer increases, early detection becomes more important.

Preventing Oral Cancer

Cancers begin as harmless dysplasia, which are pre-cancerous cells in the thin layer of tissue that surrounds our skin and organs. If dysplasia goes undetected and untreated, cancer forms. The best way to prevent oral cancer is by detecting irregularities early, before cancer growth occurs.

Brush Biopsy

A brush biopsy is a non-invasive, in-office method of oral cancer diagnosis. Detecting oral cancer early, with a brush biopsy, is a four step process:

  1. Detection: Dysplasia of the mouth typically begins as a red, white or mixed colored spot that can be easily overlooked. Small bumps in the mouth are not uncommon, but when they occur without an obvious cause, your dentist may determine that further analysis is necessary.
  2. Brush Biopsy: This simple, in-office procedure, requires no anesthetic and involves rotating a small, circular brush against a suspicious area. Slight abrasion allows the brush to collect cellular material, which is then transferred to a slide for laboratory analysis.
  3. Detection: The material collected is then analyzed in a lab for abnormal cells. Once the analysis is complete, the results are sent to your dentist.
  4. Results: The laboratory report will help your dentist determine the underlying cause of your oral concern. Should unhealthy cells be found, you may be referred to an oral cancer specialist for early treatment.

Routine dental checkups are your best option for oral cancer prevention! Call your dentist today to schedule your appointment!

Posted on behalf of:
Newport Beach Dentistry
1401 Avocado Ave #20
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 644-9181

Jan
26

3 Risks for Oral Cancer That You Didn’t Know About

Posted in Oral Cancer

Cancer is a word that nobody wants to hear or talk about.  When you go to your dentist for a check-up, you are not only examined for cavities and gum disease but you are also being examined for oral cancer (cancer in or around the mouth).  This is another reason why you should visit your dentist regularly.  The key for surviving oral cancer is detecting the disease early.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Tobacco use in all forms, including cigar smoking, cigarette smoking, pipe smoking or chewing tobacco can definitely increase your risk for oral cancer.  More risk factors of oral cancer include: being a Male, family history of cancer and a previous oral cancer diagnosis.

Did you know that there are more risk factors for oral cancer that you might not have known about?

Here are 3 risk factors that are not well known:

1)    HPV (sexually transmitted infection)- If you have the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV, then you are at risk for oral cancer- especially with some specific forms of HPV.

2)    Alcohol abuse – If you drink a lot of alcohol, it increases your risk for oral cancer.  If you drink lots of alcohol along with smoking a lot, your risk for oral cancer is even greater.

3)    Age- The older you get, the higher your risk is for developing oral cancer especially in people over 40.

Have you recently been to your dentist to be screened for oral cancer?  If not, call your dentist to schedule an exam, including an oral cancer screening.  If your dentist finds any questionable areas, the sooner you find it and treat it, the better.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 931-4544

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