Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers today and has one of the lowest survival rates, with thousands of new cases being reported each year. Fewer than half of all people diagnosed with oral cancer are ever cured. Moreover, people with many forms of cancer can develop complications—some of them chronic and painful—from their cancer treatment. These include dry mouth and overly sensitive teeth, as well as accelerated tooth decay. If oral cancer is not treated in time, it could spread to other facial and neck tissues, leading to disfigurement and pain. Older adults over the age of 40 (especially men) are most susceptible to developing oral cancer, but people of all ages are at risk. Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, but the tongue appears to be the most common location. Other oral structures could include the lips, gums and other soft palate tissues in the mouth.
In general, early signs of oral cancer usually occur in the form of lumps, patchy areas and lesions, or breaks, in the tissues of the mouth. In many cases, these abnormalities are not painful in the early stages, making even self-diagnosis difficult. Here are some additional warning signs:
- Hoarseness or difficulty swallowing.
- Unusual bleeding or persistent sores in the mouth that won’t heal.
- Lumps or growths in other nearby areas, such as the throat or neck.
If a tumor is found, surgery will generally be required to remove it. Some facial disfigurement could also result.
Prevention is the key to staving off oral cancer. One of the biggest culprits is tobacco and alcohol use. Certain kinds of foods and even overexposure to the sun have also been linked to oral cancer. Some experts believe certain oral cancer risk factors are also hereditary. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the best defenses against oral cancer. Maintaining good oral hygiene, and regular dental checkups, are highly recommended.
Removing decay and repairing damaged teeth is key to both good oral health and overall well-being. While most adults would agree with the importance of protecting their adult teeth, many overlook the developmental significance of the primary dentition, or “baby teeth.” It is crucial to maintain the health of the baby teeth (even though they will eventually be replaced) because they are necessary for eating, speaking, proper growth and development of the jaws and placement of the permanent teeth. Most pediatric dental patients have both adult and baby teeth, or mixed dentition, and a pediatric dental specialist understands how proper care of both can lead to a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Healthy mouth, healthy body…the link between them may surprise you!
The condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall health. Research shows how poor oral health is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more.
Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a nice smile and pleasant breath. The recent research has found a number of links between certain diseases. While in many cases, the nature of this link still isn’t clear — researchers have yet to conclude whether the connections are causal or correlative. What is certain is that the condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall physical health.
Doctors have known for years that type 2 diabetics have an increased incidence of periodontitis, (severe form of gum disease). In 2008 the connection was further highlighted: Researchers at Columbia University’s School of Public Health followed 9,296 non-diabetic participants, measuring their level of periodontic bacteria over the course of 20 years. What they found was astonishing! Those people who had higher levels of periodontal disease had a twofold risk of developing diabetes over that time period, compared to people with low levels or no gum disease. More research is needed before doctors can conclude that gum disease actually leads to diabetes, but, there are already a few theories about why this might be the case: Scientists at the Mayo Clinic propose that when infections in your mouth get bad enough, they can lead to low-grade inflammation throughout your body, which in turn wreaks havoc on your sugar-processing abilities. There are all kinds of “inflammatory molecules,” and it’s believed that some attach to insulin receptors and prevent the body’s cells from using the insulin to get glucose into the cell. It’s the perfect set-up for diabetes. At Hughes Dental Group, we strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth, gums and general oral health. We are conveniently-located to Sun City – so if you are new to our area and need a new dentist or one with a more modern practice give us a call. If you hail from Indiana, where I practiced for over 30 years… stop in a say “Hi” – I would love to meet you!
Natural Remedies for Dental Health
While brushing and flossing are very important for a healthy smile, you can also look to nature for pure, additive-free dental health benefits that could help keep your smile in tip-top shape.
When used to complement your regular oral hygiene routine, herbs and other natural substances may offer an easy, cost-effective way to maintain optimal dental health. Many natural health proponents believe that simple, at-home treatments with elements like sage and tea tree oil can be used to strengthen, protect and fortify teeth and gums, and potentially help you avoid costly dental work.
Here is an overview of five specific holistic dental treatments:
- Green tea extract. Results of a 2012 Journal of Periodontology study showed that participants who drank green tea extract were less likely to develop gum disease and more apt to achieve better overall periodontal health.
- Amla fruit powder. A dental rinse of water and powder from the amla fruit (also known as Indian gooseberry) is said to have anti-viral, anti-microbial and detoxifying properties that may help stabilize loose teeth and heal inflamed gums.
- Oil pulling. This treatment involves a vigorous, daily oral rinse with nutrient-rich oils like sesame or sunflower. An ancient Ayurvedic practice, it’s meant to detoxify the mouth, removing harmful bacteria, reducing inflammation and even whitening teeth.
- Tea tree oil. Known as an effective antiseptic, this oil may also relieve the symptoms of gum disease and may prevent it in the first place. Some toothpastes actually include tea tree oil.
- Sage. An active ingredient in many natural mouthwashes, sage is touted by natural health enthusiasts as an effective way to reduce oral bacteria; encourage healing of bleeding gums and mouth infections; and soothe tooth, tongue, throat and gum pain.
Remember, regular dental visits combined with diligent home care provide the best defense against oral health problems. Please give Hughes Dental Group a call at 843-705-7066 for checkups and treatments when necessary. – Dr. Daniel Hughes
Removable Partial Dentures… What to expect
- In the beginning, your new partial denture may feel awkward or bulky. This is normal, and you will eventually become accustomed to wearing it.
- Inserting and removing the partial denture will require some practice.
- Follow all instructions given by Dr. Hughes. Your denture should fit into place with relative ease. Never force the partial denture into position by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps.
- Hughes will give you specific instruction about how long the denture should be worn and when it should be removed.
- Initially, you may be asked to wear your partial denture all the time. Although this may be uncomfortable at first, it’s the quickest way to identify areas that may need adjustment.
- If the denture puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. Dr. Hughes will adjust the partial denture to fit more comfortably. After making adjustments, he will probably recommend that you take the partial denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.
- Eating should become a more pleasant experience with dentures. Start out by eating soft foods that are cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on both sides. Avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You may want to avoid chewing gum during the adjustment period.
- Partial denture can also help improve your speech. If you find it difficult to pronounce certain words, practice reading out loud. Repeat the words that give you trouble. With time, you will become accustomed to speaking properly with your partial denture.
Our modern cosmetic dentistry includes a variety of quick, safe and effective dental treatments aimed at improving your appearance and one of the most popular choices is brightening your smile. Teeth whitening has come a long way in modern dentistry and it is an ideal option to enhance your appearance. At Hughes Dental Group, we can lighten stains and discoloration of enamel and dentin resulting from the aging process, drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine; or from smoking. Today brighter, lighter, whiter teeth have become the popular norm – plus it can give you a younger appearance.
Periodontal Disease… Who Knew?
Patients who are living with untreated and uncontrolled gum disease are at an increased risk for dental diseases such as tooth loss, but also life threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and complications during pregnancy.
In recent years, there has been a growing body of evidence that recognizes the link between your oral health and your overall health. This connection is astounding! By controlling oral plaque and eliminating inflammation you can protect your teeth as well as your general health.
Periodontal disease is a chronic (ongoing) infection that is characterized by inflammation. When plaque bacteria are allowed to colonize below the gum line, the result is the onset of your body’s natural inflammatory response. Red and bleeding gums, swelling, bad breath, and bone loss can signal an infection that requires professional attention. Though these symptoms can be uncomfortable and unattractive, the underlying consequences of events could be far worse. Ignore appropriate care and the infection can weaken your immune system and increase your risk for systemic health problems. The signals your body send out (special proteins to fight an injury or an infection) should be heeded. Unfortunately, when the infection persists for a long time, high levels of those proteins can begin to circulate throughout your blood stream. In time, this ongoing inflammatory response can begin to affect your heart, your blood vessels and arteries and even make conditions such as diabetes difficult to control. Periodontal disease and its side-effects are virtually impossible to treat on your own. You’ll need to recruit the help of an experienced dental professional for the best chances of recovery. Not simply for your oral health, but for your systemic health as well. Hughes Dental Group takes a keen interest and responsibility in assisting you throughout the process. To learn more about your periodontal health, call for your appointment today.