There are over 12 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year. There are a large variety of different kinds of cancer, some of which are more preventable than others. It might seem obvious that practicing good oral health and avoiding tobacco and other harmful substances can help protect you from the risk of oral cancer. However, there are other types of cancer that can be prevented through good oral care as well.
Dental Care and Oral Cancer
While it’s long been known that tobacco and heavy alcohol use are the main causes of oral, head, and neck cancer, poor oral health has recently been added to the list. A 2007 study published in American Journal of Epidemiology found that poor mouth health and missing teeth were strongly linked to the development of oral cancer. Likewise, patients with good oral health were found to be far less likely to develop oral cancer. If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, know that common oral health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay could be making the condition worse. Visiting our dental office regularly for professional cleanings, examinations, and oral cancer screenings to help catch signs of oral cancer early and make treatment easier and more effective.
Oral Health and Other Cancers
Poor oral health has been shown to be tied to other types of cancers outside of the mouth. For example, a recent study conducted by NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center found that certain types of bacteria found in patients with gum disease was tied to a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. While esophageal cancer only accounts for 1% of new cancer cases diagnosed annually, over 90% of patients will die of the disease. Untreated gum disease opens up the tissues around the teeth to bacterial infection, allowing these harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of the patient’s body. Maintaining optimal oral health can help protect you from this threat.
Your oral health effects much more than just your mouth. If you’re not taking care of your teeth, tongue, and gums, you could significantly increase your risk of developing cancer without even realizing it. If you’d like to learn more about the connection between oral health and cancer, contact our dental team to schedule an examination and cleaning today!
Keeping up optimal oral health takes more than brushing and flossing. Maintaining oral hygiene demands a bit of work, but it is worth it in the long run. Here are four ways you can improve your dental health right now.
1)Replace your toothbrush more often. When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? A month ago? Six months? Most people don’t swap out a new brush often enough, which can lead to reduced brush effectiveness. Change your brush at least every three months. Be sure to switch after having an infection like the cold or flu to prevent reinfection.
2)Lay off the fizzy drinks. The acids present in soda wear away enamel, weakening your teeth and leaving them vulnerable to decay. In fact, people who drink three or more glasses of soda per day experience about 62% more tooth decay than those who choose another beverage like water.
3)Opt for chocolate. Everyone loves a sweet treat now and then, but did you know that certain candies are better for your teeth than others? The American Dental Association reports dark chocolate is the healthiest option, as it is soft and washes off your teeth easier than other candies. Hard, sticky, and sour goodies should be avoided, because they can stick to your teeth and even cause chips or cracks if you bite down too hard.
4)Visit your dentist. Trips to our office should occur at least twice a year—not just when you have a toothache. We offer preventative care, vital education, and important cleanings, which are all part of maintaining excellent oral health.
We are pleased to offer a variety of solutions to keep your smile healthy. We are also able to customize a health plan tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment today.
Research completed by the CDC shows that nearly half of US adults suffer from some form of gum disease. Without proper detection and treatment, this disease can fester and spread, leading to a number of oral and overall health concerns including loss of teeth, bleeding and inflamed gums, heart disease, respiratory issues, stroke, and more. The damage periodontal disease is able to inflict on your body can be hugely mitigated through early treatment.
When caught in its early stages, gum disease can be relatively easy to treat. Early signs of gum disease include bleeding or sensitive gums, chronic bad breath, and small pockets beginning to form between your gums and teeth. Our doctor will measure the space between your gums and teeth and may recommend a treatment plan of scaling and root planing. These treatments are designed to remove the buildup of tartar and plaque around a tooth and smooth the area around the root to help prevent future buildup. They can often be completed in one visit. After treatment, our doctor will provide you with a plan for better oral care at home. It’s important to follow up with regular professional examinations and cleanings in order to prevent the future spread of gum disease.
If scaling and root planing are not sufficient to correct the damage caused by gum disease, more invasive procedures such as gum grafting, bone grafting, and dental implants may be necessary. While these procedures can help repair the damage caused by advanced periodontal disease, they generally require much longer recovery times and may not completely undo the damage inflicted on your mouth.
Early diagnosis and treatment is your best chance for mitigating the potentially life-threatening effects that periodontal disease can have on your body. If you are experiencing chronic bad breath, sore or bleeding gums, or have noticed a recession in your gumline, you could be experiencing the early stages of periodontal disease. Contact our office today to learn more or to schedule a consultation with our doctor.