Take Good Care: April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

UnknownAt Mitchell Dentistry, we don’t wait for April to come around to create awareness about the dangers of oral cancer. In fact, every time you come in for a cleaning or a treatment, we are taking a good look inside your mouth to make sure all is well. And if it is not, we provide you with guidance on the next steps for further investigation.

But since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want you to be even more vigilant. More than 21,000 men and 9,000 women in the United States annually receive oral cancer diagnoses, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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Oral cancer can strike in the mouth and throat with most of these cancers beginning in the flat cells—squamous cells—that cover the surfaces of the mouth, tongue and lips. Some of the risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, infection with human papillomavirus, sun exposure, diet, betel nut use, and personal history of oral cancer.

Symptoms to watch for include patches inside the mouth or on the lips, a sore on the mouth or lips that doesn’t heal, bleeding in the mouth, loose teeth, pain or difficulty swallowing, lump in the neck, numbness of lower lip and chin, difficulty wearing dentures and a persistent earache.

Call our office or your physician for an appointment immediately if you have any of these symptoms.

We are very concerned about the prevalence of oral cancer and we are involved in the community’s fight to end this insidious disease. Throughout the year, I am a guest speaker at local support groups, providing guidance to those who are suffering with head and neck cancers.

And for the past five years, our entire staff has created a team to participate in the annual Head & Neck Cancer 5K –  this year it takes place on Saturday, April 28. Please call our office if you would like to join our team (T-shirt included!).

As always, please contact us with any questions about caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums.

We welcome your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Yolanda

 

 

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Are Americans visiting the dentist?

A recent study by Gallup Well-Being shows that nearly a third of all American adults haven’t been to the dentist in the past year. The American Dental Association recommends that those with even the lowest risk of dental disease seek preventive dental care at least once a year. (at Mitchell Dentistry, we recommend seeing a dental professional every six months for optimal oral hygiene and preventative treatment).

Startling Statistics

  • About 4.3 percent more women sought care than men.
  • Married adults had visited the dentist at a higher percentage than those who were single, divorced or widowed.
  • People within the two highest annual household income groups visited the dentist almost twice as much as those in the two lowest income groups.
  • More seniors are seeing the dentist now than in 2008, up 4.3%.
  • Adults ages 30 to 44 and ages 45 to 64 saw a reduction over the five-year period, with 64.2% and 66.7% of people in those age groups going to the dentist, respectively.

Why should you be concerned?

Several studies in the last 15 years have linked oral health to total bodily health, including reports by the United States Surgeon General. Poor oral health, especially for those unaware of the problem, can lead to several conditions that are actually preventable with an appropriate daily routine. However, if left untreated simple bacteria such as plaque can lead to gum disease.

Education and Prevention

Routine dental appointments not only provide the necessary therapy for vulnerable teeth, but also the education that is critical to the personal treatment and prevention of inflammation and bacteria growth in the mouth. The best and most cost effective method of treatment is prevention and that begins at your dentist office. Call us at 239.939.5556 to schedule an appointment.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

As April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month we wanted to focus on this very important and largely overlooked illness. Each year the Oral Cancer Foundation, a national non-profit organization designed to save lives through prevention, education, research and support activities, strives to ensure that more people are getting regular check-ups and are aware of the prevalence of oral cancer. Approximately 43,250 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014 and this encompasses mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer and throat cancer. This will be the fifth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrences of oral cancers.

bluIn fact, despite the rise of oral cancer, a recent study conducted by UMass Medical School and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that although there have been extensive nationwide efforts to curb the use of tobacco products and cigarettes, the use of smokeless tobacco products are being highly used by youth. Products like e-cigarettes or vapor cigarettes have recently grown in popularity. Even celebrities have been spotted using e-cigarette brands such as blu or V2 Cigs. However, these products still contain tobacco and the addictive chemical nicotine. In fact smoking one cartridge of a blu cigarette is equal to an entire pack of cigarettes.

 

When discovered at an early stage of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. However, at this point in time the majority of cases are found in the late stages and this accounts for the high mortality rate of 43 percent.

We at Mitchell Dentistry cannot stress enough the importance of becoming aware of this issue, going to your dentist office for your regular 6-month check-ups (as we do pay special attention to any areas of concern in your mouth and throat or on your gums), or even getting screenings by an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (ENT). It is through these methods that early detection may be possible. To learn more you can visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website at www.oralcancerfoundation.org.