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Posts for tag: oral cancer


Fans everywhere were recently saddened by the news of musical legend Eddie Van Halen's death. Co-founder and lead guitarist for the iconic rock group Van Halen, the 65-year-old superstar passed away from oral cancer.

Van Halen's rise to worldwide fame began in the 1970s with his unique guitar style and energetic performances, but behind the scenes, he struggled with his health. In 2000, he was successfully treated for tongue cancer. He remained cancer-free until 2018 when he was diagnosed with throat cancer to which he succumbed this past October.

Van Halen claimed the metal guitar picks he habitually held in his mouth caused his tongue cancer. It's more likely, though, that his heavy cigarette smoking and alcohol use had more to do with his cancers.

According to the American Cancer Society, most oral cancer patients are smokers and, as in Van Halen's case, are more likely to beat one form of oral cancer only to have another form arise in another part of the mouth. Add in heavy alcohol consumption, and the combined habits can increase the risk of oral cancer a hundredfold.

But there are ways to reduce that risk by making some important lifestyle changes. Here's how:

Quit tobacco. Giving up tobacco, whether smoked or smokeless, vastly lowers your oral cancer risk. It's not easy to kick the habit solo, but a medically supervised cessation program or support group can help.

Limit alcohol. If you drink heavily, consider giving up alcohol or limiting yourself to just one or two drinks a day. As with tobacco, it can be difficult doing it alone, so speak with a health professional for assistance.

Eat healthy. You can reduce your cancer risk by avoiding processed foods with nitrites or other known carcinogens. Instead, eat fresh fruits and vegetables with antioxidants that fight cancer. A healthy diet also boosts your overall dental and bodily health.

Practice hygiene. Keeping teeth and gums healthy also lowers oral cancer risk. Brush and floss daily to remove dental plaque, the bacterial film on teeth most responsible for dental disease. You should also visit us every six months for more thorough dental cleanings and checkups.

One last thing: Because oral cancer is often diagnosed in its advanced stages, be sure you see us if you notice any persistent sores or other abnormalities on your tongue or the inside of your mouth. An earlier diagnosis of oral cancer can vastly improve the long-term prognosis.

Although not as prevalent as other forms of cancer, oral cancer is among the deadliest with only a 60% five-year survival rate. Making these changes toward a healthier lifestyle can help you avoid this serious disease.

If you would like more information about preventing oral cancer, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “How a Routine Dental Visit Saved My Life” and “Strategies to Stop Smoking.”

By Linden Dental
March 01, 2021
Category: Oral Health

Oral cancer screenings performed by your Naples, FL, dentists, Dr. Richard Linden and Dr. Maria Linden of Linden Dental, help you protect your oral and general health. Yearly screenings are a must, as oral cancer signs and symptoms are easy to mistake for less serious oral health issues.

Oral cancer screenings are essential for your good health

More than 54,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2021 and more than 10,000 people will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. If oral cancer isn't diagnosed and treated promptly, it may spread to the lungs, liver, bones, or other parts of the body.

Early diagnosis of oral cancer makes it easier to treat the disease and reduces the risk that cancer will spread. Fortunately, an oral cancer screening is part of every dental checkup. The screenings are important because the symptoms of oral cancer often don't seem alarming.

Although anyone can develop oral cancer, your risk may be higher if:

  • You smoke or use tobacco products.
  • You are a heavy drinker of alcoholic beverages.
  • You're 55 or older.
  • You don't eat healthy foods.
  • You have had human papillomavirus (HPV) infection of the mouth or throat.
  • You have a disease or condition that suppresses your immune system or take immune-suppressing medications.

What happens during an oral cancer screening?

During your visit to the Naples dental office, your dentist will examine your mouth and feel your jaw and neck. The entire screening only takes a few minutes, yet offers important benefits for your oral health.

Your dentist will look for signs and symptoms of oral cancer, including:

  • Painful sores that never heal
  • Pain in your jaw, mouth, or teeth
  • Red or white patches in your mouth
  • Lumps in your mouth, tongue, jaw, or neck
  • A sore throat that doesn't get better
  • Hoarse voice
  • Loose teeth or a change in the fit of your dentures
  • Trouble eating or swallowing

Is it time to schedule your next checkup and oral cancer screening? Call your dentists in Naples, FL, Dr. Richard Linden and Dr. Maria Linden of Linden Dental, at (239) 593-0777 to make your appointment.

By Linden Dental
February 01, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

While sports like football, basketball and soccer have exploded in popularity over the last few decades, many Americans still have a soft spot for the granddaddy of them all: baseball. While technology has changed many aspects of the game, many of its endearing traditions live on.

Unfortunately, one baseball tradition isn’t so endearing and definitely hazardous to health—tobacco, primarily the smokeless variety. Players and coaches alike, even down to the high school level, have promoted or at least tolerated its use.

But there are signs this particular baseball tradition is losing steam. Not long ago, the San Francisco Giants became the first major league baseball team to prohibit tobacco in its home stadium—on the field as well as in the stands. The move was largely in response to a law passed by the City of San Francisco, but it does illustrate a growing trend to discourage tobacco use in baseball.

While smoking, chewing or dipping tobacco can certainly impact a person’s overall health, it can be especially damaging to the teeth, gums and mouth. Our top oral health concern with tobacco is cancer: Research has shown some correlation between tobacco use (especially smokeless) and a higher risk of oral cancer.

You need look no further than the highest ranks of baseball itself to notice a link between tobacco and oral cancer. Although from different eras, Babe Ruth and Tony Gwynn, both avid tobacco users, died from oral cancer. Other players like pitcher Curt Schilling have been diagnosed and treated for oral cancer.

Cancer isn’t the only threat tobacco poses to oral health. The nicotine in tobacco can constrict blood vessels in the mouth; this in turn reduces the normal flow of nutrients and disease-fighting immune cells to the teeth and gums. As a result, tobacco users are much more susceptible to contracting tooth decay and gum disease than non-users, and heal more slowly after treatment.

That’s why it’s important, especially in youth baseball, to discourage tobacco use on the field. While most of baseball’s traditions are worthy of preservation, the chapter on tobacco needs to close.

If you would like more information on the oral health effects of tobacco, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.

As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.

Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.

Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.

Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome.┬áIf you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”

By Linden Dental
January 08, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

You promptly get the cancer screenings your physician advises. You eat a healthy diet, and you exercise. All that is great, but consider this: oral cancerhave you had your annual oral cancer screening? Drs. Richard and Maria Linden, your Naples, FL, dentists, assess their adult patients for signs of oral cancer with every semi-annual check-up and cleaning at Linden Dental. Screenings ensure early diagnosis of this potentially deadly cancer.

The details on oral cancer

The Cancer Centers of America state that oral cancer develops in the soft tissues of the mouth, back of the throat and gums. Unfortunately, this cancer strikes more than 47,000 people annually in the United States, says the Oral Cancer Foundation.

What are the signs? There are many, including:

  • Persistent hoarseness
  • A sore or patch which does not heal
  • Unexplained lumps or swelling in the mouth, at the sides of the neck or under the chin
  • Mouth pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mobile teeth
  • A change in the fit of a denture or in how teeth bite together
  • A continual sore throat
  • Persistent bad breath

Many of these symptoms are common to other ailments. So without routine screening by your dentist in Naples, oral cancers may be missed altogether until they are far advanced. Cancers that have well developed before diagnosis have a poor five-year survival rate.

Additionally, everyone should know their risk factors. As an example, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancers as women are. Also, age plays a part, with more cases appearing in the over 40 population. Other predisposing factors include:

  • Exposure to HPV, the Human Papillomavirus which is sexually transmitted
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking and smokeless tobacco usage
  • Consuming a diet low in fruits and vegetables

What you can do

First of all, don't be scared. It's what you don't know that can hurt you. Second, keep your routine appointments at Linden Dental. Dr. Linden will visually inspect your mouth with every cleaning and check-up. He or she also will feel the sides of your neck and under your chin, looking for any lumps or swellings.

Basically, that's it. Oral cancer screening is a quick and painless way to give yourself much deserved peace of mind regarding your oral health.

Contact us

Please contact the friendly team at Linden Dental in Naples, FL, for your semi-annual exam. Be sure to ask your dentist about your oral cancer screening. Call today for an appointment: (239) 593-0777.