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Thousands of Americans die every year from oral cancer. However, if the cancer is detected early enough, there is a high chance it can be cured.
Each year, more than 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer and only half of those diagnosed survive more than five years.
But nowadays, dentists have the skills and tools to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified.
If it is caught early, there is a much higher chance that, with your dentists help, you could win the battle against oral cancer.
The key is to know the early signs and to see your dentist regularly.
Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth.
It can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, cheek lining, tongue or the palate.
Other signs include:
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A change in the color of the oral tissues
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
- A change in the way the teeth fit together
Oral Cancer most often occurs in those who use any form of tobacco. Smoking combined with alcohol use greatly increases the risk.
However, oral cancer which is most likely to strike after age 40 can occur in people who do not smoke and have no other known risk factors.
Diets with a lot of fruits and vegetables may help prevent its development.
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of a dental examination so regular checkups with an examination of the entire mouth are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.
There are also easy tests that can be done to determine if the lesion contains abnormal or pre-cancerous cells. Be sure to let us know if you are experiencing any of the signs list above.
Call our office at (937) 434-8870 if you have any concerns or would like to have an oral cancer screening.
Here is an article from Total Health Dental Care that discusses the benefits of 10 different foods on your dental health. With Thanksgiving just around the corner and our tendencies to over-indulge during the holiday season, we thought it would be appropriate to discuss the benefits of eating the right food for not only your dental health but for the health of your entire body.
The 10 Best Foods for Great Oral Health
Food is not just sustenance, not just fuel and certainly not just a diversion. Food nurtures and heals. So the type of food you eat affects your health and wellbeing. The right foods help you feel energetic, sleep better and prevent sickness.
Generally, good nutrition is beneficial for oral health as well as total health. Fill your diet with fresh produce, nuts & seeds, legumes, lean meats and whole grains. These contribute to a more alkaline state in the body, which defends against bacteria and inflammation.
Avoid food with artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flour and partially hydrogenated oils. These contribute to a more acidic state in the body, which increases bacteria and creates inflammation.
This list of 10 superfoods for great oral health will benefit your mouth. But they’re also good for the rest of you!
1. Kiwi. Most fruits contain Vitamin C, which is vital for the health of your gum tissue, but kiwis contain the highest amount. Without Vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down, the gums become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease.
2. Cheese. High in phosphate and calcium, cheese helps balance the pH in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel. This prevents cavities and gum disease.
3. Celery. As a crunchy vegetable made mainly of water, chewing celery produces saliva, neutralizing the bacteria Streptococcus mutans that causes cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth.
4. Green Tea. Enjoyed for centuries in Asia, green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria leading to bad breath.
5. Sesame Seeds. High in calcium, sesame seeds preserve the bone around the teeth & gums. They also help slough off plaque while helping build tooth enamel.
6. Onions. Onions have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for oral health. They are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked.
7. Shiitake Mushrooms. These mushrooms contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar that prevents mouth bacteria from forming plaque.
8. Raisins. Sweet and tasty, raisins contain phytochemicals like oleanolic acid that inhibit two species of oral bacteria to prevent cavities and gum disease.
9. Sweet Potatoes. Along with carrots, pumpkin and broccoli, sweet potatoes have high amounts of Vitamin A, which is essential for tooth enamel formation and promotes healing of gum tissue.
10. Water. Water is as effective as mouthwash at swishing away stuck particles and residue from teeth. It also keeps your gums hydrated while stimulating saliva – the best defense against bacteria.
I found this dental fact very interesting. This year, Americans spent approximately $2 billion on candy for one day of Trick or Treat. Ironically, this is the same amount of money that American spend on toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss for the entire year. Be sure to watch how much of that left over candy you are eating. Frequent exposure to candy will put your teeth at risk. Be sure to brush and floss after eating the candy. Also, if you tend to have sweet sensitivity when eating candy, it can be a sign of something worse to come. Call us at our Kettering office to check out any sensitive teeth and to make sure nothing serious is developing.
Before we know it, 2013 will be behind us and 2014 will be here. It seems once Halloween passes, the end of the year just flies by. For that reason, we are offering our patients a friendly reminder about their dental insurance benefits and flex-spending accounts.
For most dental insurance plans, the benefits are defined for a calendar year. Policies typically run from January 1st to December 31st, and if benefits are not used by the end of the year, they are lost. Therefore, if you or your dependents have any necessary dental treatment, we encourage you to make an appointment before time runs out. As the end of the year approaches, more patients are eager to schedule their appointments and our schedule tends to fill up quickly.
Some patients may have quite a bit of treatment that needs to be done. This treatment can often be spread over two years of dental benefits in order to maximize coverage. However, in order to use two years of benefits, some treatment needs to be done before the end of the year. This is a reminder for patients with larger treatment plans to make sure to schedule their appointments accordingly.
We value helping our patients in any way we can and we know the longer patients wait to make their end of the year appointments, the more likely we won’t be able to accommodate everyone. If you want to use 2013 dental benefits or 2013 Flex Spending dollars, please call our office at (937) 434-8870 so that we can schedule an appointment or check your remaining insurance balance.
We hope everyone has a wonderful end to the year.
The Almoney and Brown Dental Team
Incidence and Mortality
Statistics through the National Cancer Institute indicate oral and pharyngeal cancer strikes an estimated 39,000 Americans each year, with 8,000 people dying of these cancers annually. An estimated 1 in 95 adults will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer in their lifetime.
Many risk factors are associated with oral cancer. Two common risk factors are tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Heavy use of tobacco and alcohol together greatly increases the risk of developing oral and pharyngeal cancer. HPV (human papillomavirus) infection is also associated with pharyngeal cancer. Age is also a factor with cancer risk greatly increasing after 44 years. Gender also plays a part since men are twice as likely to develop oral and pharyngeal cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure is a particular risk factor for lip cancer (UV comes from sunlight and tanning beds). Nutrition is important, as a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is associated with a lower incidence of oral and pharyngeal cancer. Some experts believe some oral cancer risk factors are hereditary.
Signs and Symptoms
Oral cancer can present itself in several different ways. Different presentations include leukoplakia (white spots) or erythroplakia (red spots) that have been present for 2 weeks or longer. It could be a lump or thickening of the oral soft tissues, or swelling that affects the fit and comfort of dentures. Some people discover difficulty chewing or swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue; a sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat; numbness; hoarseness or a change in the voice. It can be a persistent ulcer or lesion that doesn’t heal (even ones without any discomfort).
Signs or symptoms that persist for two weeks or more need to be evaluated by your dentist. Sometimes it is necessary to see a specialist for a biopsy. Early diagnosis and treatment are necessary for the best treatment outcome. Call our office at (937) 434-8870 if you would like to have an oral cancer screening.