Oral Cancer Awareness Month: Early Detection, Screening, and Staging

Oral cancer is a significant health concern globally, with its prevalence steadily rising. April marks Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of early detection, screening, and staging of oral cancer. Early detection and screening are pivotal in improving prognosis and survival rates.

This blog will explore why these aspects are crucial in combating this often-overlooked disease.

Early Detection and Screening:

Early detection is critical when it comes to oral cancer. Many oral cancers can be detected in their early stages through regular self-examinations and professional screenings. During a routine dental check-up, your dentist or oral health professional will thoroughly examine your mouth, looking for any suspicious lesions, lumps, or discolored areas that may indicate the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells.

Self-examinations are also highly recommended. You can self-examine by using a bright light and a mirror to inspect your mouth, including your tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth. Look for any unusual sores, white or red patches, lumps, or persistent pain or numbness. If you notice any concerning changes, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention.

Staging and Treatment:

Staging is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment approach and estimating survival outcomes for mouth cancer patients. If oral cancer is suspected, your healthcare provider will likely order additional tests, such as biopsies, imaging studies (CBCT scans, MRI, or PET scans), and endoscopies, to confirm the diagnosis and determine the stage of the cancer.

Mouth or oral cancer is staged from 0 to IV, based on the size of the tumor, lymph node involvement, and metastasis. Stage 0 is carcinoma in situ, with abnormal cells present but not yet invasive cancer. Stage I and II tumors are localized, up to 4 cm, without lymph node spread. Stage III indicates a larger tumor size over 4 cm or spread to nearby lymph nodes. Stage IV is the most advanced stage, where the cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes, tissues like the jaw, or other organs like the lungs.

Early stages 0-II have higher cure rates with surgery or radiation therapy. Later stages III-IV require more aggressive treatment with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of all these. These advanced stages have a higher risk of recurrence.

Prevention and Risk Factors:

While early detection and screening are crucial, prevention is equally important. Certain lifestyle factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can significantly reduce the risk.

Additionally, important preventative measures include:

  • Practicing good oral hygiene.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet.
  • Protecting yourself from excessive sun exposure (which can increase the risk of lip cancer).

Conclusion

Oral Cancer Awareness Month reminds people to prioritize oral health and take proactive steps toward early detection and prevention. Regular check-ups, self-examinations, and a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the burden of oral cancer. Remember, early detection and appropriate treatment can save lives. For expert care and a secure screening to ensure your well-being, schedule an appointment with our dental professionals at Bravo! Dental.

Oral Cancer Action Month Awareness: Lifestyle Choices That Matter


November is observed as oral cancer action month. Oral cancer is a health concern that affects thousands of individuals worldwide each year. Oral cancers are part of a group of cancers commonly referred to as head and neck cancers, and of all cancers, they comprise about
85%. However, the good news is that many cases of oral cancer can be prevented by making informed lifestyle choices. 

In this blog, we’ll explore some essential lifestyle factors that can significantly reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. 

 1. Quit smoking and avoid tobacco products

Tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors for oral cancer. Whether you smoke cigarettes cigars, or use smokeless tobacco products, you’re exposing yourself to harmful carcinogens that can damage the cells in your mouth. Smoking also weakens the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off cancer cells. 

If you currently use tobacco, quitting is the best decision you can make for your oral health. It’s never too late to quit, and you’ll see immediate improvements in your oral health once you do. 

2. Limit alcohol consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption is another significant risk factor for oral cancer. Alcohol can irritate the lining of your mouth and throat, making them more susceptible to the harmful effects of other carcinogens. The combination of heavy alcohol consumption and tobacco use increases the risk exponentially. If you choose to drink, do so responsibly and within recommended guidelines. 

3. Maintain a healthy diet

A nutritious diet can play a crucial role in oral cancer prevention. Consuming various fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help protect your cells from damage. These foods boost your immune system, making it more effective in fighting potential cancer cells. It’s also advisable to limit the consumption of processed foods and sugary snacks.  

4. Practice good oral hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential not only for your overall dental health but also for preventing oral cancer. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, associated with an increased risk of oral cancer. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can help keep your mouth healthy.  

5. Get vaccinated against HPV

Some strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) are linked to oral cancer. Getting vaccinated against HPV can significantly reduce your risk, especially for younger individuals. The HPV vaccine is recommended for both boys and girls, typically administered in adolescence.

6. Regular dental check-ups

Regular dental check-ups are crucial for early detection of any potential issues. Dentists are trained to recognize the signs of oral cancer in its early stages, and early detection is key to successful treatment. 

 Conclusion 

So, this oral cancer action month, let’s make sure to take the right lifestyle choices and prevent the risk of developing oral cancer. Your oral health is a crucial component of your overall well-being, and making the right lifestyle choices can help you maintain a healthier and happier life. If you are looking for personal care and a complete oral check-up, visit us at Bravo! Dental or just ring us at 1-888-682-7286, and let’s make sure your oral health is in ship-shape.

Why is Oral Cancer Screening Essential?


Cancer remains a major global health concern, and early detection is key in increasing the chances of successful treatment. Oral cancer often goes undetected until later stages. However, regular dental check-ups and oral cancer screenings can help with early diagnosis and potentially save lives. 
 

Many of us are unaware of oral cancer and the need to be screened for it early on. That is why, in observance of April’s National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to emphasize the importance of oral cancer screening tests in this blog. 

Oral cancer screening: What is it? 

It is a medical examination carried out to look for precancerous cells in oral cavity. It can accurately detect the different types of oral cancers. 

This is carried out during routine dental visits, especially if your dentist notices a problem with how your mouth feels. A dental health professional can find oral cancer early in about 84% of instances. 

How can I know I have a risk of developing mouth cancer? 

The following are some critical risk factors to help you be aware: 

  • Age (Those over 40 are more at risk).  
  • Using tobacco or smoking. 
  • Heavy drinking. 
  • H. Papilloma Virus (HPV). 
  • Gender (Men are more susceptible than women).  
  • Unhealthy eating. 
  • Excessive exposure to the sun.  

People diagnosed with oral cancer have at least one of the risk factors. 

But do you know an alarming fact? 

There has been a rise in cases where individuals with no risk factors are diagnosed with this condition. So, oral cancer screenings are still crucial to preserve your general health, even if you have none of the abovementioned risks. 

Understanding of Oral Cancer 

Most of the time, you might believe that your oral health is under control, but it is a must to be aware of other kinds of oral cancer. The typical types are: 

  • Lip cancer (caused by prolonged exposure to UV radiation). 
  • Tongue-related cancer 
  • Mouth cancer 
  • Gum cancer 

What are the advantages of taking a dental cancer screening? 

The tests may seem needless, yet they are crucial for the following reasons: 

  1. Early cancer detection increases the likelihood of a successful treatment outcome compared to waiting until later stages. 
  2. No one ever asks to develop cancer in order to establish risk factors. It is impossible to calculate your risk of oral cancer without screenings. 
  3. A screening session may reveal that you are cancer-free and help avoid mouth cancer. But, if you are a high-risk patient, this consultation with the dentist can be especially valuable in helping you take steps to prevent cancer. 

Like many other cancers, oral cancer can only be cured if detected early. The only way to do this is to have regular oral screenings.  

Consult our professionals at Bravo! Dental to always stay on the safer side. We take a keen examination with OralID cancer screening and ensure your oral health is in ship shape. So, on this Oral Cancer Awareness Month, let’s spread the need for and importance of taking an oral cancer screening test, prioritize our oral health, and work towards a healthier, cancer-free future.

Sensitive Oral Tissues: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments 

Oral tissues include every part within the oral cavity, which majorly adds the lips and the inner layer of the cheeks. Mouth sores (stomatitis) are the most common issues the oral cavity faces. These sores can form on your lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, and the floor and roof of your mouth, among other soft tissues. You can also have mouth sores on your esophagus, which is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach.

Causes:

Mouth sores can be caused by irritation from the following sources:

  • A sharp or damaged tooth, or dentures that don’t fit well
  • Biting your tongue, cheek, or lip
  • Experiencing tongue burns as a result of hot foods or beverages
  • Misplaced Braces
  • Tobacco chewing

Types of sores:

Cold sore: Cold sores are also known as fever blisters. They’re quite contagious. Tenderness, tingling, or burning are common symptoms before a sore emerges. Cold sores typically start as blisters and subsequently crust over. A herpes virus that causes this can live for years in your body. It only manifests as a mouth sore when something causes it, such as a fever, hormonal fluctuations, or a sunburn.

Canker sores: They aren’t highly contagious. They can resemble a pale or yellow ulcer with a crimson ring around it. You might have one or several of them. Women appear to get them at a higher rate than men. Canker sores have an unknown source. It could be caused by a weakened immune system, stress, or a deficiency in vitamins and minerals.

Symptoms:

Depending on the mouth sore you have, the symptoms will differ. The lesions will usually produce redness, discomfort, and inflammation. You may also encounter:

  • Feelings of tingling or burning.
  • Eating is a challenge (especially spicy or salty foods).
  • Blistering.
  • Bleeding.
  • Ulceration.
  • Dysphagia – a condition that affects people’s ability to swallow food.

Treatments:

A visual examination can diagnose the majority of mouth sores. If your disease is severe, your healthcare professional may prescribe a blood test or a biopsy. Based on how you have been affected, your dentist would treat you as follows,

Allergy: If an allergic reaction causes the problem, the doctor will figure out the allergy and how to get rid of it.

Infection: Depending on the type of infection, stomatitis may necessitate specific therapy and drugs.

Nutritional deficiency: A doctor can diagnose and treat dietary deficiencies using medicines or nutritional changes.

Topical therapies applied directly to the skin have been reported to help reduce discomfort and speed up the healing process. The following are examples of topical treatments:

Topical corticosteroids: These are often used as a rinse and are intended to relieve symptoms to eat, drink, and speak without pain or discomfort.

Topical antibiotics: Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities are found in topical antibiotics, usually in a gel or a rinse.

Topical anesthetics: They are numbing drugs that patients can apply directly to sores for short pain relief. They are usually available via prescription.

Although most mouth sores are harmless, they can be rather uncomfortable. Fortunately, some therapies can help alleviate the pain. If you’re experiencing any strange symptoms or your mouth sores haven’t healed in three weeks, schedule an appointment with us today at Bravo Dental. Our experts can assist in excluding any significant health concerns and detecting any problems early on.

Basic Causes and Tips to prevent Oral Dryness

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition in which your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your oral cavity moist. Dry mouth is a common adverse effect of several drugs, age difficulties, and cancer radiation therapy. However, it is more commonly caused by disorders such as diabetes, stroke, yeast infection (thrust) in the mouth, Alzheimer’s disease, or autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS that affects the salivary glands directly.

Did you know: Saliva protects teeth from decay by neutralizing bacteria’s acids, inhibiting bacterial development, and washing away food particles. Saliva also improves your sense of taste and makes chewing and swallowing simpler. It also contains enzymes that help digestion.

Causes of dry mouth:

Dehydration: It is one of the possible reasons for dry mouth. Vomiting, diarrhea, extreme perspiration, or blood loss can all cause this. When dehydrated, your body doesn’t create as much saliva as it normally does, resulting in a dry mouth.

Medications: Many medications might cause dry mouth as an adverse effect. Drugs taken for depression, anxiety, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and asthma are the most frequent causes for dry mouth.

Radiation therapy: This treatment that involves getting radiation treatment to the head or neck can cause dry mouth. The salivary glands are damaged by radiation, which reduces saliva output.

Anxiety and stress: Your body produces more cortisol, the “stress hormone,” when you’re stressed or nervous. When cortisol levels in your saliva rise, the composition of your saliva changes, causing mouth dryness.

Aging: As you become older, you’re more likely to have dry mouth. This might be due to various factors, including health conditions, drugs, and changes in your body’s ability to metabolize prescription medications.

Snoring: Snoring with your mouth open has the same impact as snoring with your mouth closed. This can make your mouth dry or make it worse if you already have a dry mouth.

Smoking and drug usage: Extremely harmful to one’s health, Tobacco and marijuana use can impair saliva production, leaving you with a parched mouth.

Tips for preventing oral dryness at home:

Dry mouth is typically a transitory problem that may be remedied. You can usually avoid and cure dry mouth symptoms at home by performing one or more of the following:

  • Consuming excess water during the day
  • Consuming ice cubes
  • Minimizing the intake of alcohol and caffeine
  • Consuming less salt and sugar
  • Avoiding tobacco usage
  • Using a humidifier in your bedroom when sleeping
  • Taking over-the-counter saliva replacements
  • Eating sugarless hard candy or chewing sugarless gum
  • Toothpastes, rinses, and mints sold over the counter
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly
  • Avoid mouth wash that has alcohol

Getting a dental exam twice a year is extremely essential. A dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which can be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Your oral hygienist may prescribe artificial saliva or medicines to stimulate saliva production in your mouth.

Dry mouth isn’t a life-threatening condition by itself. It can, however, be an indication of other underlying problems that need treatment.

Dry mouth problems can be typically treated at home with self-care. However, if your problems persist, you should see a dentist. Our experts at Bravo Dental are here to assist you in overcoming dryness and restoring a healthy mouth.

Causes, symptoms, and treatments for Oral Cancer

Mouth cancer or otherwise oral cavity cancer develops in oral surfaces like lips, gums, tongue, inner cheek lining, inner palate, or under the tongue. Mouth cancer is one of the numerous forms of cancer that make up the head and neck cancers category.

Oral cancer is relatively easier for doctors to treat if detected earlier. However, most patients are diagnosed when their ailment has progressed beyond the point where it can be adequately treated. 70% of oral cancers are detected only in the advanced stages (III or IV stages) says Forward Science. You’ll have a far higher chance of getting an early diagnosis if you see your dentist or doctor regularly and learn how to recognize abnormal changes.

Did you know: According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), males are more prone to mouth cancer than females.

Symptoms:

Oral cancer can have a number of symptoms that aren’t always obvious in the early stages.

  • Mouth bleeding for no particular reason
  • Unexplained numbness in any part of the face, mouth, or neck, lack of sensation, or pain/tenderness
  • Sores that bleed readily and do not heal within two weeks on the face, neck, or mouth
  • A throbbing sensation that something is stuck in the back of the neck
  • Chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue are difficult tasks
  • Hoarseness, a persistent sore throat, or a change in voice
  • Ear discomfort
  • Your jaw may swell or hurt
  • Misfit of your teeth or dentures
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Mouth ulcers or sores that take prolonged healing
  • Red, or red and white patches on the surface of the mouth or tongue

Causes:

Mouth cancer can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Tobacco intake in any form, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Too much exposure of lips to sunlight
  • Human papillomavirus – a sexually transmitted virus (HPV)
  • Immune system dysfunction

Treatments:

Treatment will be determined by the following factors: cancer’s location, stage, and type; the individual’s overall wellness; and personal choices. According to cancer.net, the overall 5-year survival rate for all persons is 85 % if oral cancer diagnosed early.

Surgery: Surgery to remove the tumor and a margin of healthy tissue surrounding it may be recommended by a doctor. A portion of the tongue, the jawbone, and lymph nodes may be removed during surgery. Reconstructive surgery may be required if the operation severely alters the person’s appearance or ability to speak or eat.

Radiation therapy: Radiation treatment is effective against oral malignancies. This therapy damages the DNA inside tumor cells, using high-energy X-rays or radiation particles, potentially preventing them from reproducing. A dentist may suggest combining it with additional therapies to lower the chances of the disease growing or reoccurring.

Chemotherapy: A doctor may consider combining chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the cancer is extensive. This treatment involves the use of potent drugs that cause cancer cells’ DNA to be damaged. The medications stop the cells from reproducing and spreading.

Oral cancer could affect 9,750 lives this year owing to late oral cancer detection predicts Oral Cancer Foundation. Make an appointment with us right away if you’re experiencing any persistent indications or symptoms that have been bothering you for more than two weeks. Even if otherwise, give us a visit at Bravo Dental, and our experts can improve your chances of successful treatment, and help put your mind at ease.