Posts for: April, 2017
The University of Southern California states that according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, "nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year," and "only about half will be alive in five years after diagnosis." Oral cancer patients have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate when the cancer is found in the early stages. However, most patients are diagnosed in the later stages, according to the foundation.
With this in mind, that is why we check every adult for oral cancer at each regular cleaning and exam, which is recommended to occur every six months on average! Unfortunately, the average patient only receives a cleaning and exam every 3-5 years! Don't be a statistic and wait until it is too late! Remember, early detection is the key!
In our continuing efforts to provide the highest quality of dental health care available to our patients, we regularly screen our patients for oral cancer. The fact is, every hour of every day in North America, someone dies of oral cancer, which is the sixth most commonly diagnosed form of the disease. Although the five-year survival rate is only 50 percent, and oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved, early detection is the key!
Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, and the floor of the mouth. Symptoms of oral cancer may include a sore in the throat or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal, a red or white patch that persists, a lump or thickening, ear pain, a neck mass, or coughing up blood. Difficulties in swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue or jaws are often late symptoms.
While there is no way to predict exactly which individuals will get oral cancer, there are potential causes like age, tobacco uses, excessive alcohol, persistent viral infections like HPV16 and a diet that is lacking or low in fruits and vegetables.
Medical doctors and dental health care professionals have debated for years over the connection between gum disease and heart disease. While there still is no unanimous consensus on whether there is a link, or to the extent to any link, several studies offer some interesting insight into the possible correlations that may prove that there are some common factors that point to a likely relationship between the two.
Dr. Simone Ricketts reported on the findings of an Australian study of 80 patients that was published in a recent magazine article. That study showed that 70% of the patients who participated in the study and needed heart transplants also had gum disease. She noted that other studies show a similar pattern, indicating that patients who needed heart transplants or other cardiac surgery procedures, were more likely to have dental problems.
It isn't just heart disease that experts are linkng to periodontal disease, however. More and more evidence is showing that many chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes can be linked to gum disease. Poor oral hygiene resulting in gum disease was evident in blood tests that showed postive markers for inflammation.
Although more continued research will be needed to exactly identify the true link between gum disease and coronary damage, patients need to understand the true importance of taking care of their mouths and doing whatever is necessary to ensure or support their overall circulatory system health - even if there is no guarantee that doing so will prevent either disease.