Posts for tag: oral cancer
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.
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.
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. If 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.”
You promptly get the cancer screenings your physician advises. You eat a healthy diet, and you exercise. All that is great, but consider this: have 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.
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.
If you’ve noticed a small sore in your mouth, it’s possible you have a non-contagious disease known as lichen planus. Although usually benign, it’s still a good idea to have it examined and monitored.
The condition is so named because its lesions are similar in appearance to lichen, the algae and fungi organism often found on rocks and trees. It’s believed to be a type of autoimmune disease, in which the body treats some of its own cells as foreign and reacts adversely to them. Certain medications and substances may also cause a lichenoid reaction. Besides the inner cheeks, gums or tongue, lichen planus may also appear on other skin or mucous surfaces on the wrists, legs or fingernails.
When it appears inside the mouth it usually resembles a lacy pattern of white lines or ulceration. Gum tissues may become red and inflamed, with some soreness after brushing or eating. Although there’s no known cure for lichen planus, it rarely causes serious problems — in fact, you may not even be aware you have the condition unless pointed out during a dental exam. It may, in time, fade away.
If the lesions do become bothersome (painful, itchy or overly-sensitive), there are some ways to ease discomfort: brushing with a soft toothbrush (to minimize irritation), flossing, and avoiding acidic or spicy foods and beverages which have been known to cause flare-ups. Managing stress is also helpful, and a topical steroid may be prescribed for more severe outbreaks.
Perhaps the greatest concern with lichen planus, though, is it may resemble more serious conditions, particularly oral cancer. The only way to be certain that it is a benign condition is to perform a biopsy on some of the affected tissue. If you notice a problem, be sure to visit us for a complete examination. And regardless of whether you have the condition or not, regular oral cancer screenings, as well as limits on alcohol consumption and stopping use of tobacco, will also reduce your risk of oral cancer.
Odds are if you have a case of lichen planus it isn’t causing you any problems. If it does cause you discomfort, though, you can take steps to ease your symptoms.