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Posts for tag: oral cancer

OralCancerIsDeadly-ButYouCanLowerYourRiskWithaHealthyLifestyle

An estimated 50,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed this year with some form of oral cancer. Five years from now, if current survival rates still apply (57%), a little more than half will still be alive. That's why the Oral Cancer Foundation designates each April as Oral Cancer Awareness Month to call attention to this serious disease, and what you can do to lower your risk of contracting it.

Oral cancer has one of the lowest survival rates among known cancers, mainly because it easily goes undetected until its later stages when known treatments aren't as effective. Patients don't always have overt symptoms or they mistake cancerous lesions for everyday mouth sores. On the other hand, early detection and treatment dramatically improve survivability.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk for oral cancer or improve your odds for early detection.

Don't use tobacco. If you're a smoker, you're five to nine times more likely to develop oral cancer than a non-smoker. Using smokeless snuff or chewing tobacco is also risky—four times the risk of non-users. And preliminary evidence suggests that e-cigarettes increase the risk of cancer as well.

Make better food choices. A diet heavy in processed foods, especially nitrites used in curing meats and other products, can damage cellular DNA and lead to cancer. On the other hand, natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that lower cancer risk. A nutritious diet also contributes to healthier teeth and gums.

Practice safer sex. While older adults have traditionally accounted for most oral cancer cases, there has been a recent, unsettling rise among younger people. Most researchers tie this to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV 16), which is sexually transmitted. You can reduce your risk for contracting HPV 16 and subsequent oral cancer by following safe sex practices.

Undergo oral cancer screenings. Your semi-annual dental visits to clean your teeth are also a prime opportunity to check for oral abnormalities, especially if you're older. During an oral cancer screening we visually inspect your face, neck, lips and the inside of your mouth for any suspicious sores or discolorations. Early detection leads to better outcomes.

You should also modify your alcohol consumption—moderate to heavy drinkers have three to nine times greater risk for oral cancer than light or non-drinkers. And, you can further lower your risk of lip cancers by limiting your exposure to the sun and wearing protective sunscreen.

Oral cancer is a dangerous condition that could threaten your life. Regular dental care and healthy lifestyle practices can help lower your risk for encountering this deadly disease.

If you would like more information about oral cancer, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer.”

By Nashua Smile Makers
June 14, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

If you are at risk for oral cancer, find out what signs and symptoms to look for.oral cancer

While most people think about ways to protect themselves against decay and gum disease, not a lot of people think about the possibility of developing oral cancer. While there are certainly risk factors that could increase your chances of oral cancer, the truth is, is that it can happen to anyone. Our Nashua, NH, dentists, Dr. Salvatore Guerriero and Dr. Salvatore Colletta, are here to provide you with a little insight into the common symptoms that you may experience if you have oral cancer.

Some of the common signs of oral cancer include:

  • Mouth ulcers or sores that still persist after a couple of weeks
  • A lump or growth found in the soft tissue of your mouth that doesn’t go away
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck that remain swollen for over two weeks
  • Hoarseness or other vocal changes
  • Pain or problems chewing, speaking or moving your jaw
  • A loose tooth that isn’t the result of infection, trauma or decay
  • Numbness anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue

Keep in mind that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms that there are other conditions that could be causing these problems that aren’t life threatening. Of course, our Nashua general dentist likes to play it safe, so it’s always a good idea to come in for an evaluation if any of the symptoms above apply to you.

It is important to recognize that most people won’t have symptoms during the early stages of oral cancer. While this can be disconcerting, one of the best things you can do to ensure that if there is a problem that we catch it is to come in for your regular dental checkups without fail.

Coming in for these routine visits is particularly important if you are a smoker or a heavy drinker, as these habits can greatly increase your chances of oral cancer. For those without risk factors, coming in at least once a year for a check-up is a good idea for maintaining a healthy mouth.

Don’t let problems fester. If you start to notice any changes that are concerning to you, feel free to call our Nashua, NH, family dentist anytime to get the care you need whenever you need it. Dental problems can happen at anytime; Nashua Smile Makers is here to help.

By Nashua Smile Makers
January 10, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   oral cancer   tobacco  
4ReasonswhyQuittingChewingTobaccoisGoodforYourOralHealth

Chewing tobacco is as much a part of our sports culture as the national anthem. What once began as an early 20th Century baseball player method for keeping their mouths moist on dusty fields has evolved into a virtual rite of passage for many young athletes.

But the persona of “cool” surrounding smokeless tobacco hides numerous health threats — including disfigurement and death. What isn’t as widely recognized is the degree to which chewing tobacco can adversely affect your teeth, mouth and gums.

Need more reasons to quit? Here are 4 oral health reasons why you should spit out smokeless tobacco for good.

Bad breath and teeth staining. Chewing tobacco is a prime cause of bad breath; it can also stain your teeth, leaving your smile dull and dingy, as well as unattractive from the unsightly bits of tobacco between your teeth. While these may seem like superficial reasons for quitting, a less-than-attractive smile can also have an impact on your self-confidence and adversely affect your social relationships.

The effects of nicotine. Nicotine, the active ingredient in all tobacco, absorbs into your oral tissues and causes a reduction in blood flow to them. This reduced blood flow inhibits the delivery of antibodies to areas of infection in your mouth. This can cause…

Greater susceptibility to dental disease. Tooth decay and gum disease both originate primarily from bacterial plaque that builds up on tooth surfaces (the result of poor oral hygiene). The use of any form of tobacco, but particularly smokeless, dramatically increases your risk of developing these diseases and can make treatment more difficult.

Higher risk of oral cancer. Besides nicotine, scientists have found more than 30 chemicals in tobacco known to cause cancer. While oral cancer constitutes only a small portion of all types of cancer, the occurrence is especially high among smokeless tobacco users. And because oral cancer is difficult to diagnose in its early stages, it has a poor survival rate compared with other cancers — only 58% after five years.

The good news is, you or someone you love can quit this dangerous habit — and we can help. Make an appointment today to learn how to send your chewing tobacco habit to the showers.

If you would like more information on the effects of chewing tobacco on general and oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Chewing Tobacco.”