Signs Of Oral Cancer: What Not To Ignore

oral cancer signs La Mesa

Today’s article focuses on a very serious issue—oral (oropharyngeal) cancers. The medical community categorizes oral cancers as a subset of head and neck cancers.

Oral cancers can arise in the following locations:

  • The tongue
  • The roof of the mouth and under the tongue
  • The inside of the cheeks
  • The oropharynx (the part behind the soft palate)
  • The salivary glands
  • The lips

Oral Cancers Are Particularly Deadly

Over 50,000 men and women annually are diagnosed with a type of oral cancer. They are more than twice as prevalent in men. There is no disparity when it comes to blacks or whites. Oral cancers claim over 10,000 victims per year.

The statistics reveal that only 57 percent of those diagnosed this year will be alive in five years. Talk about a grim outlook.

Let’s talk about the common—and the not-so-common—warning signs of oral cancer.

Any sore or lump in the mouth or throat should be taken seriously. Any white or red patch could also be a symptom.

Receiving an oral cancer screening is another reason to visit Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry twice a year for an exam. Healthcare providers who don’t have the specific training for early-onset oral cancer may confuse or fail to recognize early symptoms.

Here, at Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr, Gray can tell you if you should be worried or not.

The Cold Sore Connection

Firstly, we know cold sores are not dinner-talk for most men and women. However, did you know that if you have a history of cold sores, you are at an increased risk for receiving oropharyngeal (oral) cancer?

Don’t Ignore These Signs!

You will want to get checked out if you:

  1. Have a lump or thickening in your throat
  2. Have white or red patches on your tongue, tonsils, or lining of your cheeks and gums
  3. Notice numbness of any oral feature
  4. Have any type of lesion, cut, or canker-type sore that doesn’t heal within 14 days

Less-common symptoms include tongue pain and loose teeth. A hoarse voice that doesn’t go away should be a concern. Unexplained tooth discoloration is rare but not unheard of.

It’s a misconception to think any of these signs can’t lead to problems.

Early Diagnosis Can Save Your Life

Getting checked for oral (or any) cancer regularly is essential for multiple reasons, but it is ultimately necessary because you want to catch it early. So you have the highest chance of survival. While it usually does not start to show symptoms until around age 40, it occurs in younger patients as well.

Smokeless Tobacco

It is also more common for those who use smokeless, (chewing or spit) tobacco to get oral cancer. Many people argue that these are safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. This may be true when it comes to lung cancer. But you need to look at the contracting other conditions like oral cancer(s), pancreatic cancer, and/or chronic infections that can result in heart issues later on.

Also, don’t assume vaping is less dangerous. Though there is less research on the health risks of vaping, it certainly hasn’t been proven to be risk-free.

Smoking + Alcohol = A Dangerous Combination

While we are highlighting tobacco and vaping, we also need to mention alcohol. For many folks, they go together. Those who both smoke and drink have a 15 times higher possibility of developing oral cancer than those who do neither.

Exposure to UV Rays Bolsters Risk of Lip Cancer

Lip cancer can be considered both oral cancer and skin cancer. Most of us have been warned that unprotected sun exposure is harmful. But many of us forget about the lips when applying sunscreen. Pick up some SPF balm when you shop for sunscreen. Don’t forget that eating, drinking and licking your lips can wipe it away. Reapply often. Wear wide-brim hats as protection. Be especially careful between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Sources:

https://oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer/about/key-statistics.htm

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

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What Does Your Saliva Reveal?

This post from Jeff Gray DDS in La Mesa concerns saliva, your dental health, and your overall health.

A mouth examination can reveal problems in other parts of the patient’s body. Because many diseases manifest in soft tissues of the mouth or cause pain in the jaw, dentists often refer patients to their medical doctor for further diagnosis when they encounter issues such as inflammation, chronic bad breath, bleeding gums, or jaw pain.

Healthcare providers may soon have another oral diagnostic tool for discovering systemic diseases—a test that assesses the molecules in saliva.

“UCLA researchers are working on a test that could have the ability to diagnose diseases like diabetes and cancer. It’s conceivable that dentists will soon be able to take saliva samples that can be tested for numerous diseases. And if that happens, disease diagnosis will be much simpler for all parties.”1

At Jeff Gray DDS, we understand how the state of your dental health impacts the rest of your body. You can think of us as a key member of your healthcare team, and dedicated to your overall health and well-being.

At Jeff Gray DDS in La Mesa, our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next appointment with us today.

1Saliva Test May Uncover Deadly Diseases, Dentistry Today (citing an article in Clinical Chemistry, clinchem.org), November 6, 2014, http://dentistrytoday.com/todays-dental-news/10711-saliva-test-may-uncover-deadly-diseases, accessed on December 19, 2014

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 6797

Gum Disease Linked To Alzheimer’s: Keep Those Gums Healthy!

gum disease treatment La Mesa

As if you needed another reason to keep your gums as healthy as possible.

Scientists have found a connection between a bacteria that causes periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Porphyomonas gingivalis is a bacteria that often leads to chronic periodontitis. The bacteria was discovered in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Inflammation from gingivitis can lead to tooth loss, and studies have shown that people with fewer teeth are more likely to have dementia.

In lab research, the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria that can cause gum disease was given to mice. The mice developed the protein tangles and neural damage typically seen in Alzheimer’s patients.

The research study, “Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors,” can be found at Science Advances.

The researchers concluded:

“Chronic periodontitis and infection with Porphyomonas gingivalis have been identified as significant risk factors for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is inflammation or infection of the gums. For the most part, periodontal disease is preventable.

Risk factors for periodontal disease include tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, genetics, teeth grinding, inflammatory conditions, and poor nutrition.

This study should dispel the misconception that oral health is somehow separate from physical health.

Clinical trials are now underway testing a drug that blocks the main toxins of P. gingivalis, with the hope that it will stop and even reverse Alzheimer’s disease. As always, research scientists are proceeding with caution, since Alzheimer’s disease was previously thought to be inherited.

Whether or not gingivitis leads to Alzheimer’s, the good news is that gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene at home and regular cleanings by dental professionals. This is one more thing to think about as you floss your teeth daily.

It is important to see your dentist regularly to keep your gums healthy (as well as your teeth). To schedule a periodontal disease exam, call Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry in the La Mesa, CA area today at 619-717-8560 or visit our website.

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 


Oral Health In Childhood Has A Lifelong Impact

kids dentist La Mesa

At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry in the La Mesa, CA area, we believe that keeping your child’s teeth healthy is critical while they are young. We would be honored to be your choice for our specialized general dentistry services.

Tooth decay and gum disease can hamper speech development. It can also make it more difficult for the child to eat healthy food. Unhealthy teeth reduce a child’s self-confidence. This, in turn, puts mental health at risk. Mouth pain can also impact school performance. The bottom line is that maintaining a healthy mouth in childhood is essential for a healthy life. And once your youngster moves into adulthood, oral health should remain a priority.

You may be surprised to learn that inadequate oral hygiene may increase the risk of multiple diseases, including:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Blood Cancers
  • Lung Cancer

The truth is that lifelong oral health is a process that starts early. Young children should see a pediatric dentist when their first tooth erupts, which is much earlier than many moms and dads often realize. So parents, please put dental appointments on your “to-do” list, along with well-child check-ups and immunizations.

You might think you know the basics of daily oral hygiene for children, but it is wise to get a refresher course from one of our expert, child-friendly hygienists. We can also review sealants, bite issues, fluoride supplements, thumb sucking, and orthodontia.

At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry in the La Mesa, CA area, we would be honored to be your choice for our specialized general dentistry services. We can help your children and adolescents maintain healthy teeth and gums. We can also detect problems in the early stages when they are easier (and yes, less expensive) to correct.  Call us today to schedule an appointment or consultation. We look forward to meeting you and your child.

Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry in the La Mesa, CA

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 


What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer and Oral Health in La Mesa

La Mesa oral cancer screening Oral Health in La Mesa

During routine dental examinations, your dentist may look for signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer refers to cancers in the tongue, mouth, lips, jaw, and throat. Many La Mesa dental patients don’t realize the seriousness of oral cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 39,000 people will get oral cancer this year.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “the death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer, and endocrine system cancers.”

When your dentist performs an oral cancer screening during your dental examination, he/she will look for red or white spots, bleeding, lumps, difficulty swallowing, loose teeth, any color changes, and mouth sores. It is vital to tell your dentist if your bite has changed, if you have sores that won’t heal, and prolonged hoarseness. An earache in only one ear can also be an indicator.

The existence of any of these symptoms does not mean you have oral cancer, as they can be caused by any number of other conditions. However, if your dentist does discover something unusual, he/she may order additional tests or refer you to a medical doctor for further diagnosis and treatment if necessary.

It’s probably no surprise that the main risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco use. This includes all forms, not just cigarettes. Furthermore, those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol are also more likely to contract oral cancer. People with HPV, a sexually-transmitted virus, have a higher risk and prolonged sun exposure to lips makes lip cancer more likely. All of these previously mentioned factors are lifestyle-related and, to a great extent, preventable. People who don’t use tobacco or drink heavily are statistically far less likely to get oral cancer or other problems affecting oral health in La Mesa.

For more information about oral cancer screening or oral health in La Mesa, contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry at 619-717-8560. If you are looking for an experienced dentist who provides comprehensive general, restorative, sedation, or cosmetic dentistry, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jeff Gray. Dr. Gray has been serving the La Mesa area since 1986.

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942


Oral Health in La Mesa: Treat Your Smile To A Healthy Diet

experienced family dentist La Mesa Oral Health in La Mesa

Proper nutrition can benefit you in a number of ways; increased energy, improved immunity, glowing skin, mental clarity, and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. How often, however, do you consider how your diet impacts your oral health in La Mesa?

Your diet can influence your risk of cavities, enamel health, and gum condition. Healthy foods provide an environment that can prohibit inflammation and infection. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts are the optimal choices for oral health in La Mesa. Calcium-fortified beverages, milk, and other dairy products provide vitamins, minerals, and calcium that aids in keeping teeth, bones, and gums healthy. Eating crispy fruits and vegetables, such as apples and celery, will help clean your teeth and gums.

A healthy diet contains all the important vitamins and minerals for both children and adults. Between the ages of 6 months and 16 years old, both the primary and the permanent teeth come in, therefore adequate fluoride is critical. Don’t forget, however, that too much fluoride is detrimental. Dr. Jeff Gray can advise you on the exact dosage of fluoride for your child, taking into account whether your municipal water is fluoridated.

Even though adults’ teeth have already formed, fluoride helps with remineralizing weakened enamel to a degree. This powerful mineral is applied to teeth during extensive dental cleanings at Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry and daily with fluoride toothpaste. Bacteria that causes enamel-destroying plaque love a steady diet of sugar—from soda, candy, and even fruit juices. When enamel wears away, the teeth become vulnerable to cavities, damage, and staining.

Be sure to brush after each meal and before bed. Furthermore, remember to floss or use a water irrigating method to dislodge food particles trapped in spaces. By eating well, brushing properly, flossing regularly, and avoiding foods that stick to your teeth, you can have a beautiful smile for life. At Jeff Gray, DDS, we have a full-service dental practice in La Mesa. Helping our dental patients improve their oral health in La Mesa is important to us, and so is helping them achieve the smile they want through cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers, teeth whitening, and smile transformations.

Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry in La Mesa has been serving the San Diego area since 1986. Please contact us at 619-717-8560 if you are looking for first-rate dental care from a local La Mesa dentist with the experience, expertise, and personalized attention you deserve.

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942