Dr. Hurst your Logan Utah Dentist will perform an oral exam during your routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. Early detection means a greater chance for a cure. During an oral exam, your dentist looks for red or white patches or mouth sores.
Many people have abnormal sores in their mouths that are usually noncancerous. An oral exam doesn’t determine if a sore is cancerous – so if your dentist finds an unusual sore, a biopsy may be necessary.
Who should consider oral cancer screening?
Patients with a high risk of oral cancer may be more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening. Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:
Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others
Heavy alcohol use
Previous oral cancer diagnosis
Dr. Hurst will know if oral cancer screening is appropriate for you. Also ask about ways you can reduce your risk of oral cancer, such as quitting smoking and not drinking alcohol.
• In 2014, approximately 43,250 people will be diagnosed with oral and oral pharyngeal
(posterior/rear of the mouth) cancer in the U.S. Because a large number of these individuals
will be diagnosed as late stage cancers (66%), only 57% of them will survive five years.
• Each year, oral cancer kills more people in the U.S. than other more widely known forms of
cancer, including skin cancer (malignant melanoma), lymphatic cancer (lymphoma), thyroid,
and cervical cancer.
• In the U.S., someone dies of oral cancer every hour of every day. The death rate has
remained relatively constant for almost five decades. About 115 new individuals will be
diagnosed with oral cancer in the U.S. every day of the year.
• If oral cancer is detected early (in stages one or two), the survival rate is 80% to 90%; but when
found as a later stage (stages three or four), the chances of survival drop to 20% to 30%. Late discovery and
diagnosis are major factors in the high death rate. In the U.S., two-thirds of the diagnosed cases will be late
stage 3 and 4 cancers this year. Since this cancer in many cases lends itself to early visual and tactile
detection, this situation is correctable without the introduction of new science.
• Historically oral cancer has been most likely to occur after the age of 50. However, the fastest growing
segment of the oral cancer population are people in the 25-50 year old age range. Evidence from leading
cancer centers shows that most of this younger group are non-smokers. These patients represent a
completely different etiology from the historic tobacco and alcohol causes. The same virus responsible for
the majority of cervical cancers, HPV16, is the leading cause of posterior of the mouth cancers and some
anterior of the mouth disease. Evidence indicates that this virus can be sexually transmitted between
partners, and accounts for the increase in young, non-smoking victims of oral cancer who do not fall into
the historic risk factor group.
• Additional risk factors for oral cancers include high alcohol consumption, the use of smokeless
(chewing/spit) tobacco, as well as prolonged exposure to the sun (for lip cancers).
Oral disease can have serious repercussions for both physical and psychological health. Oral-facial pain can be crippling, interfering with such basic activities as chewing, swallowing, talking, working, and sleeping. Conditions that change or distort our facial features can make us feel less attractive, leading to social withdrawal and depression.
Oral Hygiene Aids-
Regular dental check ups are essential for maintaining excellent oral hygiene and diagnosing potential problems, but they are not a “fix-all” solution. Thorough oral homecare routines should be practiced on a daily basis to avoid future dental problems.
Periodontal disease (also called gum disease and periodontitis) is the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world, and is completely preventable in the vast majority of cases. Professional cleanings twice a year combined with daily self-cleaning can remove a high percentage of disease-causing bacteria and plaque. In addition, teeth that are well cared for make for a sparkling white smile.
There are numerous types of oral hygiene aids on the supermarket shelves, and it can be difficult to determine which will provide the best benefit to your teeth.
Here are some of the most common oral hygiene aids for homecare:
Dental floss is the most common interdental and subgingival (below the gum) cleaner and comes in a variety of types and flavors. The floss itself is made from either thin nylon filaments or polyethylene ribbons, and can help remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Vigorous flossing with a floss holder can cause soft tissue damage and bleeding, so great care should be taken. Floss should normally be used once daily after brushing.
Many hygienist & periodontists recommend interdental brushes in addition to dental floss. These tiny brushes are gentle on the gums and very effective in cleaning the contours of teeth in between the gums. Interdental brushes come in various shapes and sizes.
Mouthrinses are used for a variety of reasons: to freshen breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque (a thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth), to prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease), to reduce the speed of tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth.