Most people have heard of cancer affecting parts of the body such as the lungs or breasts.
However, cancer can also occur in the mouth, where the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.
Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. In the last year 6,767 have been diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK – an increase of more than a third compared to a decade ago.
Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught early enough. As it is, people with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those having cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.
What can cause mouth cancer?
Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to tobacco and alcohol. Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking are the main forms of tobacco use in the UK. However, the traditional ethnic habits of chewing tobacco, betel quid, gutkha and paan are particularly dangerous.
Alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer, and if tobacco and alcohol are consumed together the risk is even greater. Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips.
Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV.
What are the signs of mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips.
Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. It is important to visit your dentist if these areas do not heal within three weeks.
How can mouth caner be detected early?
Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dentist during a thorough mouth examination. If mouth cancer is recognised early, then the chances of a cure are good. Many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late.
The dentist examines the inside of your mouth and your tongue with the help of a small mirror. Remember, your dentist is able to see parts of your mouth that you cannot see easily yourself.
If your dentist finds something unusual they will refer you to a consultant at the local hospital, who will carry out a thorough examination of your mouth and throat. A small sample of the cells may be gathered from the area (a biopsy), and these cells will be examined under the microscope to see what is wrong.
If the cells are cancerous, more tests will be carried out. These may include overall health checks, blood tests, x-rays or scans. These tests will decide what course of treatment is needed.
If mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure.
However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations.
How do I keep a healthy mouth?
It is important to visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol.
When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth, and report any red or white patches, or ulcers, that have not cleared up within three weeks.
When exposed to the sun, be sure to use a good protective sun cream, and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips.
A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, provides protection against the development of mouth cancer. Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body to protect itself, in general, from most cancers.
Gingivities means inflammation of the gums (gingiva). It commonly occurs because of films of bacteria that accumulate on the teeth – plaque. Plaque-induced gingivitis it is.
Gingivitis is a non-destructive type of periodontal disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which is more serious and can eventually lead to loss of teeth.
A patient with gingivitis will have red and puffy gums, and they will most likely bleed when they brush their teeth.
Generally, gingivitis resolves with good oral hygiene – longer and more frequent brushing, as well as flossing.
Some people find that using an antiseptic mouthwash, alongside proper tooth brushing and flossing also helps.
In mild cases of gingivitis, patients may not even know they have it, because symptoms are mild.
This conditions are very serious. It should immediately addressed.
There are two main categories of gingival diseases (1999 World Workshop in Clinical Periodontics):
• Dental plaque-induced gingival disease
Gingivitis caused only by plaque, systemic factors, medications, malnutrition
• Non-plaque induced gingival lesions
caused by a specific bacterium, specific virus, specific fungus, genetic factors.
Gum inflammations caused by systemic conditions, traumatic lesions, reactions to foreign bodies
Gum inflammations without known causes
What are the signs and symptoms of gingivitis?
A symptom is something the patient feels and describes, such as painful gums, while a sign is something everybody, including the doctor or nurse can see, such as swelling.
In mild cases of gingivitis there may be no discomfort or noticeable symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of gingivitis may include:
Gums are bright red or purple, tender, and sometimes painful to the touch
Gums bleed easily when brushing teeth or flossing
Halitosis (bad breath)
Inflammation (swollen gums)
What are the causes ?
The accumulation of plaque and tartar
The most common cause is the accumulation of bacterial plaque between and around the teeth, which triggers an immune response, which in turn can eventually lead to the destruction of gingival tissue, and eventually further complications, including the loss of teeth.
Dental plaque is a biofilm that accumulates naturally on the teeth. Colonizing bacteria are trying to stick to the smooth surface of a tooth.
Some experts say that they might help protect the mouth from the colonization of harmful microorganisms.
However, dental plaque can also cause tooth decay, and periodontal problems such as chronic periodontitis.
When plaque is not removed adequately, it causes an accumulation of calculus (tartar – it has a yellow color) at the base of the teeth, near the gums.
Calculus is harder to remove, and can only be removed professionally.
Plaque and tartar eventually irritate the gums.
Gingivitis may also have other causes, including:
• Changes in hormones – which may occur during puberty, menopause, the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.The gingiva may become more sensitive, raising the risk of inflammation.
• gingivitis developing with diseases like cancer, diabetes, and HIV.
Drugs – oral health may be affected by some medications, especially if saliva flow is reduced.
Dilantin (anticonvulsant), and some anti-angina medications may also cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.
• Smoking – regular smokers more commonly develop gingivitis compared to non-smokers.
• Family history – experts say that people whose parent(s) has/had gingivitis, have a higher risk of developing it themselves.
A dentist or oral hygienist checks for gingivitis symptoms, such as plaque and tartar in the oral cavity.
Checking for signs of periodontitis may also be recommended; this may be done by X-ray or periodontal probing.
What are the treatment options for gingivities?
If the patient is diagnosed early on, and treatment is prompt and proper, gingivitis can be successfully reversed.
Treatment involves care by a dental professional, and follow-up procedures carried out by the patient at home.
Gingivitis care with a dental professional:
• Scaling means removing plaque and tartar. Some patients may find scaling uncomfortable, especially if tartar build-up is extensive, or the gums are very sensitive.
• The dental professional explains to the patient the importance of oral hygiene, and how to effectively brush his/her teeth, as well as flossing
• Periodically following-up on the patient, with further cleaning if necessary
• Fixing teeth so that oral hygiene can be done effectively. Some dental problems, such as crooked teeth, badly fitted crowns or bridges, may make it harder to properly remove plaque and tartar (they may also irritate the gums).
What the patient can do at home:
• Brush your teeth at least twice a day
• Bear in mind that in most cases, electric toothbrushes do a better job than we can do on our own
• Floss your teeth at least once a day
• Regularly rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. Ask your dentist to recommend one.
What are the possible complications ?
In the vast majority of cases, if gingivitis is treated and the patient follows the dental health professional’s instructions, there are no complications.
However, if the condition is left untreated, gum disease can spread and affect tissue, teeth and bones, leading to periodontitis.
To the horror of every dentist within 50 miles of Atlanta, Georgia,
Hawks point guard Dennis Schröder needed only a loose tooth on Monday night to prove that the NBA is truly where amazing happens.
In the fourth quarter of the Hawks’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Schröder tried to take the ball to the hoop, before running full force into a Blazer defender. The collision — Schröder’s mouth, Meyers Leonard’s knee — jolted the guard’s head backward and sent his tooth flying forward.
The grossest best part of the sequence was what happened next: Schröder simply picked up the tooth, tucked it into his sweaty left sock and kept playing.
Only time will tell whether the tooth fairy left a few quarters in his Nikes after the contest.
After months of city council meetings with regular visits from citizens concerned about the fluoridated water supply,
Dallas council members decided to take action. On the 23rd of April, the members officially chose to end fluoridating the water supply. This practice has gone on for five decades to prevent tooth decay, even though it has been proven to be inefficient and to cause more harm than good.
According to NBC5 Dallas Fort Worth, many ardent anti-fluoridation advocates worked hard to ensure this passing, but it seems economic factors, not public health concern, played the primary role. Opponents of fluoridation reportedly claimed that the city could save $1 million a year that is spent on the industrial chemical.
Sheffie Kadane, member of the Dallas City Council, discussed with City Manager A.C. Gonzalez about ending fluoridation. He was cited saying, “We don’t need it and we’d save a million dollars that we can use for something else… We’re looking into seeing what we can do immediately so we can get those funds up front now.”
Members Scott Griggs and Jennifer Staubach Gates also supported Kadane’s reasoning. Anti-fluoridation activist Regine Imburgia commented, “Yeah…This is major big. I knew we would prevail. It only makes sense. We’re spending too much money on an ineffective program”.
Imburgia also added that she is more concerned about the possible health effects of drinking fluoridated water, and that toothpaste with fluoride is a better way to fight tooth decay. She has a point, as fluoride in the water supply has been proven to disrupt the immune system, increase the aging process, and even cause genetic damage (among other adverse effects). But city officials, for the most part, were predominantly focused on the potential savings rather than health issues.
If used topically, such as in toothpaste, fluoride can reduce the tooth decay. But many studies have reported that one does not achieve adequate results by metabolizing fluoride in the digestive system. On the contrary, published research suggests that this chemical is linked to a number of neurological risk factors.
Sara has created this beautiful seahorse mural for our waiting room. We need you to help us determine a name for the seahorse. Please reply to this post to submit suggestions. We will select a name from those submitted and the person with the winning submission will receive a gift basket!