Advanced Family Dentistry
Oral and oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat) collectively kill nearly one person every hour of every day of the year. Of the people newly diagnosed with these cancers, 40 percent will not survive longer than five years. Moreover, many who do survive suffer long-term problems, such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties with eating and speaking.
The death rate associated with oral and oropharyngeal cancers remains particularly high because the cancers routinely are discovered late in their development. Fortunately, when oral and oropharyngeal cancers are detected and treated early, mortality and treatment-related health problems are reduced.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, regular oral cancer examinations by your oral health professional remain the best method to detect oral cancer in its early stages.
Be mindful of symptoms
Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. In between dental visits, it is important for patients to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see a dental professional if they do not improve or disappear after two-three weeks:
- a sore, or soreness or irritation that doesn’t go away
- red or white patches, or pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips
- lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas
- difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
When it comes to symptoms, keep this two-three week time period in mind, but always call your dentist right away if you have any immediate concerns.
Factors That May Increase Risk
Research has identified a number of factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. Historically, those at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer have been heavy drinkers and smokers older than age 50, but today the cancer also is occurring more frequently in younger, nonsmoking people. The sexually transmitted human papillomavirus 16 (HPV) is related to the increasing incidence of oropharyngeal cancer (most commonly involving tonsillar tissue, including the base of tongue) in that younger population.
HPV caused oropharyngeal cancer may present with one or more of the following persistent (longer than two-three weeks) signs and symptoms:
- a painless lump or swelling felt in the neck
- sore throat, difficulty swallowing, or pain when swallowing
- swelling of the tonsillar areas at the back of the mouth
Be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Early detection and treatment may well be the key to a complete recovery.
If you have never had an oral cancer examination, there is no better time to schedule one than during Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April. When you do, be sure to ask that this examination be made a routine part of all of your future dental check-ups.
For more information about oral cancer, and its diagnosis and treatment, visit the following organizations’ websites.
Your mouth has many ways of letting you know that something may be wrong. When we ask patients if anything is bothering them, we find out they’ve had symptoms for a while! If you have any of the symptoms we’ve listed below, please make an appointment to come see us. We want to make sure that you not only maintain a beautiful smile but a healthy one as well.
Pain in Your Mouth
This can be a toothache, gum pain, or something you can see/explain.
We all know that pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong; the same is said about your mouth. You should never ignore tooth pain. Do not let it go on for days; chances are it will not just go away.
A toothache can be a sign of decay, a crack in a tooth, or an infection. One thing we know is that oral pain isn’t something that usually gets better on its own. Don’t wait. Dont suffer. Dont risk your health. Call the dentist so they can get to the “root” of the problem!
Whether your gums are bleeding when you eat, brush or floss, it is important to mention to your dentist or hygienist. Bleeding gums is not uncommon, but that does not mean that it is normal or should be ignored. If you notice blood when you eat, brush or floss, it can be an early sign of gingivitis or gum disease. It is a sign that a conversation with the dentist about your oral health habits is needed. Your dentist or hygienist will inform you what can be done to get your gums healthily again.
Occasional tooth sensitivity is not always a sign of a problem, but it is important to discuss your symptoms with your dentist or hygienist. Tooth sensitivity to hot, cold or sugary foods can be a sign of tooth decay. However, tooth sensitivity can also come and go naturally over time. If you have persistent sensitivity, be sure to mention it to your hygienist or dentist at your next visit. It could be something as simple as needing a softer tooth brush.
If you think something is wrong with your teeth, gums or mouth; trust your instincts. It will be easier and usually less expensive to address your problem if you take care of it early. Don’t ignore it and let it get worse! We will never belittle or lecture you for not taking good care of your mouth; instead we will focus on finding a solution that best suits you.
If you have any question about your oral health, don’t wait, give us a call! Parsippany Dentist Office Phone Number 973-263-7300
“National Tooth Fairy Day is coming up on February 28th and it’s also National Children’s Dental Health Month. We wanted to combine these two great learning opportunities to help you teach your kids about the importance of caring for teeth.
The Tooth Fairy says:
“Start taking care of little teeth early in life.”
Even though kids don’t lose their baby teeth until around age 6, it’s still a great idea to introduce them to the Tooth Fairy early on. This can help them get excited about brushing and flossing, so that their teeth will be clean and healthy by the time they lose them. You can say: “The Tooth Fairy only wants healthy teeth, not teeth with cavities.”
“Money and presents are great motivators.”
Let’s face it, the appeal of finding money under their pillow is sure to encourage kids to take care of their teeth. But the Tooth Fairy can also leave little gifts that reinforce good oral hygiene, such as a new toothbrush or toothpaste.
“Make it more fun!”
There are a surprising number of mobile apps that bring the Tooth Fairy to life. While not all of them directly promote oral hygiene, teaching your kids about the Tooth Fairy will motivate them to take better care of their teeth so they can deliver pearly whites to her. (Some fun ones: The Tooth Fairy Voicemail and The Tooth Fairy Was Here).”