Catching cancer early is the key to achieving optimal results. Screenings to identify cancer in the mouth, throat, tongue, or tonsils in their earliest stages are vital to ensuring individual overall health. If oral cancer is identified early, it can be treated quickly and it can lead to a better outcome. Unfortunately there are severe risks to not catching oral cancer early, including needing to remove the tongue, the roof of the mouth, the jaw, or other parts of the face. Additionally, in some cases, if cancer that begins in the mouth is left untreated, it can spread to other areas of the body.
Drs. Lan Vo and Sean Breckley of Thirty-Two Dental understand the importance of early detection and include oral cancer screening as part of their checkups for every patient. This screening includes not only a visual exam, but also a saliva sample.
The visual exam takes only a few minutes. The dentists check closely for lumps, bumps, or sores in the mouth and under the tongue. Next, they will check your cheeks and salivary glands to determine if they are swollen or blocked. In addition to a visual exam, the patient’s saliva sample is tested for early stages of Human Papilloma Virus and the bacteria that cause gum disease. This simple process improves treatment success of both oral cancer and periodontal disease.
Oral cancer should not be taken lightly. Over the last five years, there has been an increase in the number of oral cancer cases. Oral cancer can happen in anyone, although those who have unhealthy habits such as using any form of tobacco, drinking alcohol regularly, or biting their cheeks or lips have increased risk. The early stages of oral cancer can be hard to detect by people who are not trained and experienced. Often there are no symptoms or pain in the early stages.
For ages, ancestors have passed down certain tidbits of information intended to help us live better lives. One example is “you are what you eat.” Still used today, this phrase is the motto of many people who find dietary habits an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. More often than not, we associate what we eat with healthy bodies. The foods and beverages we consume also impact our smile. Part of the standard of dental care we provide to our patients from Marietta and surrounding areas is to assess teeth and gums, and discuss ways to handle the risk factors that affect oral health, including dietary habits.
There is significant evidence that connects the foods we eat with our oral health, which is reason to pay close attention to the impact of diet on teeth. Each person must take daily steps to prevent the development of cavities, and keep gums healthy and your breath fresh. Your dentist and hygienist see you approximately every six months. During these routine visits, we evaluate the teeth and gums for the presence of cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. We provide professional teeth cleaning, and education on how to maintain healthy teeth and gums between dental check-ups. It is the home care that will promote optimal oral health.
When we make connections between our teeth and food, there are two types that tend to come to mind: milk, to keep teeth strong and white, and sugar, which should be avoided for the prevention of cavities. Milk is a natural assumption for healthy teeth because it contains calcium. This means that milk should be extremely good for our teeth, right? Not exactly.
First, we’ll take a look at sugar. This natural substance is most commonly associated with cavities. Sugar, however, does not directly cause tooth damage. Rather, it is an indirect cause. The bacteria that naturally live in the mouth feed on sugar, and then produce acid waste that eats away healthy tooth structure. Thus, minimizing sugary treats aids in the prevention of cavities.
Foods such as milk, cheese, nuts, and healthy protein do indeed build strong bones and teeth. When including milk as a regular part of the diet, however, it is important to keep in mind that there are natural sugars in milk. Of course, the type of sugar in milk may not be as harmful to teeth as the type of sugar in a soda. Still, brushing teeth, especially children’s teeth, after the consumption of milk, washes away sugar residue and reduces the food source for harmful bacteria. Brushing teeth to remove sugars is especially important before bed.
The foods we eat are fuel for our bodies, affecting everything from our level of energy to the state of our teeth and gums. The professional team at Thirty-Two Dental is here to help you enjoy your healthiest smile through ongoing dental care.
Contact us for your appointment today.