Posts for tag: Oral Cancer

By Dental Dimensions
August 05, 2014
Category: Oral Health

Tobacco Use and Your Oral Health

It’s no secret that the use of tobacco products can have a significant impact on your overall health.  But have you considered the consequences it can have on your dental health?
 
Tobacco use in all forms, including smoking and chewing tobacco, can cause a number of dental health problems ranging from oral cancer (cancer of the lips, tongue, throat and mouth) to tooth loss and severe teeth staining. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 90 percent of people with oral cancer have used tobacco in some form.  Additionally, the risk of oral cancer is six times more likely among people who smoke compared to those who do not smoke.  The longer a person uses tobacco, the greater the risk. 
 
Long-term tobacco use in any form can compromise the health of your teeth and gums. Here are just some of the ways that regular use of tobacco affects oral health:
 
  • Tooth discoloration- Yellowing and severe discoloration of the teeth is one of the first visible effects of smoking. 
  • Gum disease- Smoking increases gum disease—about four times more than people who have never smoked according to the Journal of Periodontology. 
  • Tooth loss- The risk of tooth loss is much higher in smokers than in non-smokers
  • Bad breath- Because tobacco use increases the amount of bacteria in the mouth, a chronic unpleasant smell is common. 
  • Poor healing- Smoking delays healing after tooth extraction and can lead to a temporary and painful condition known as dry socket.
 
If you use tobacco, it is especially important that you learn how to perform oral cancer self-examinations. Look for:
  • Sores around the face, neck or mouth that do not heal
  • Frequent bleeding in the mouth
  • Swelling or lumps on the lips, gums or other areas of the mouth
  • White, red or dark patches on the cheeks, tongue or palate
  • Loss of feeling in any part of the mouth
 
In addition to regular oral cancer self-exams, tobacco users should also work towards kicking their habit. While easier said than done, the sooner you quit, the lower your risk for serious oral health problems.  Additionally, maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily, and have regular checkups with your San Jose dentist in order to verify the state of the gums and make sure oral cancer is not developing.
 
Oral cancer may be one of the deadliest forms of cancer, but it is also one of the most preventable.  Talk to Dental Dimensions about ways to stop using tobacco, and improve your dental health starting today. 
By Dental Dimensions
June 15, 2012
Category: Mouth Care
Tags: Oral Cancer  

Oral CancerOral cancer — which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheek, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat — can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early.

Because changes in the mouth can be easily seen, oral cancer can be detected in its early stages. The following symptoms should be monitored closely:

  • A sore, lump, rough spot or thick patch anywhere in the mouth, throat or on the lips
  • A sore that doesn’t heal or bleeds easily
  • Change in color of your oral tissues
  • Pain or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Change in the way your teeth fit together
  • Swollen jaw
  • Significant weight loss


While these symptoms may indicate less serious health issues, it is important to visit The Dental Dimensions if you experience any of them for more than a few weeks.

Risk Factors
According to the American Cancer Society, men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as women, and men who are over age 50 face the greatest risk. Risk factors include:

  • Tobacco use. Smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop oral cancers; and use of smokeless tobacco increases the risk of cancers of the cheek, gums and lining of the lips
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancers are approximately six times more prevalent in drinkers than in non-drinkers
  • Family history of cancer
  • Excessive exposure to the sun


While these risk factors are often associated with oral cancer, many people who have no known risk factors also develop oral cancer and should still take preventative measures.

Prevention
You can take an active role in preventing and detecting oral cancer.

  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Limit sun exposure and wear protective lotions, remembering to apply it to the lips
  • Conduct a self-exam at least once a month
  • Visit The Dental Dimensions for regular check-ups and cleanings. The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening exams every three years for people over age 20 and annually for those over age 40


Remember, spots and sores in your mouth aren’t always cancerous, but should be examined and monitored closely. Call our San Jose office immediately if you notice any changes in the appearance of your oral tissues or experience symptoms mentioned above. Like many cancers, identifying the cancer early is the key to successful treatment.



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The Dental Dimensions
5710 Cahalan Avenue, Suite 3
San Jose, CA 95123
(408) 225-6815
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San Jose, CA 95129
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