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Posts Tagged ‘Oral Cancer’

Genes & Your Teeth: What Did You Inherit From Your Mother?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. And while we love to spend this day in celebration for all our mothers have done for us over the years, one can’t help but wonder… What genetic features did I inherit from my mom – both “good” AND “bad”?

Features That ARE Related To Genes

Genes play a major role in the size and layout of your jaw. This means things like overcrowding of teeth, gaps, overbites, underbites and other misalignment issues can run in the family (1).

Gum disease, though not completely controlled by genetics, does seem to have a hereditary factor. Basically, some people in the population are more predisposed and are naturally at a higher risk for inflamed gums than others (1,2). Like any genetic predisposition, it does NOT guarantee your fate. It just means you might have to work a little harder than others. Proper hygiene habits can still keep gum disease at bay, so keep up your healthy dental behaviors!

cincinnati dentist

The color of your teeth is in part related to genetics. Genes play a role in the tint of your teeth, as well as how likely your teeth are to becoming stained. This is because the porous nature of the enamel is an inheritable trait. The more porous your enamel, the more likely stains can occur. Keep in mind that lifestyle and dietary choices will also play a factor here. Drinks like coffee, tea and red wine, along with certain medications can change the color of your teeth (3).

Problems That Are NOT Related To Genes

Although it’s tempting to blame our dental problems on our parents, things like cavities, decay, and gum disease from poor dental habits are more a lifestyle factor than a heredity issue. Anyone can develop cavities, decay, and inflammation in their mouth if they don’t stick to regular and proper oral hygiene practices.

Oral cancer is only minimally related to genetics, so if this one runs in your family, don’t stress. Lifestyle choices such as tobacco and alcohol use are the top risk factors for oral cancer. This means you can help prevent oral cancers by quitting tobacco, cutting back on alcohol, and eating a balanced diet (1).

Take Control: What You Can Do

Be thankful for traits and characteristics that you inherited that you love. After all, these are things that make you uniquely you!

Accept things you cannot change, and investigate options for the things you can. If crooked teeth or misalignments run in your family, ask us about corrective techniques such as Invisalign. If you are unhappy with the color tint of your teeth, talk to us about cosmetic dental procedures to whiten the enamel safely.

Keep your stress low. Taking steps to reduce your stress levels can positively impact your overall health, as well as the health of your teeth and mouth, which will minimize inflammation and disease (2).

No matter what your age or dental health history, start taking your proper dental hygiene habits seriously today! This is the best way to prevent more issues in the future and keep your teeth and mouth healthy for the rest of your life.

healthy teeth tips

Poor oral hygiene increases your risk for dental issues and oral disease no matter what your genetics. Although some individuals are more predisposed to develop tooth decay and issues than others, no one is immune from taking good care of their teeth. This means regular flossing and brushing, plenty of hydration, regular dental checkups, and reducing your overall sugar intake.

These habits and lifestyle choices play a much larger role in the long term outcome of your oral health than the genes you inherited from Mom or Dad. So let Mom off the hook this weekend, and have fun celebrating!

Call Hagen Dental Practice Today

Ready to schedule your next checkup? Or have a question about Invisalign, dental health, or teeth whitening services? We are here for you! Give us a call at (513) 251-5500.

Sources:

1. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/are-oral-health-issues-genetic.html

2. http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-20/issue-1/feature/genetics-periodontal-disease.html

3. https://www.newbeauty.com/hottopic/blogpost/6038-ask-an-expert-do-genetics-make-your-teeth-more-prone-to-stains/

 

Oral Cancer: This Is Why Early Detection Is Critical

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

oral health at hagen dental dds in cincinnati ohio

Almost 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year (1). Sounds pretty surprising, doesn’t it? This includes cancers of the tongue, lips, gums, and other soft palate tissues of the mouth or upper throat.

Talking about cancer can be scary, but there is one key component to improved odds: Early detection. Detecting the issue before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body dramatically raises the rate of survival. One of the best ways to ensure early detection is to stay consistent with your dental care and dental cleanings.

Regular dental checkups involve more than just your teeth cleaning. Dr. Hagen’s exam includes a review of the health of your entire oral cavity – teeth, gums, tongue, and palate – for signs of disease, including oral cancer. Even though you may think you know your teeth pretty well, we’re actually able to screen you for cancer when you come in!

What Are We Looking For?oral health risk factors

Dr. Hagen is trained to perform a thorough head and neck examination at your dental visit. This exam detects changes in the tissues of the mouth and surrounding areas that could signal the beginnings of cancer. Dr. Hagen knows what signs to look for, what additional tests or labs to order, and when to refer to a specialist, when necessary.

Here are some of the cancer warning signs we screen for:

  • White or red lesions that are not healing
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Lumps or thickening of the soft tissue, such as the neck or cheek
  • Soreness of the throat, or pain in the mouth that does not go away
  • Chronic feeling that something is stuck in the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Persistent ear pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Numbness of the tongue or mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw

Sure, that seems like quite a list, but know that just because you have a symptom on this list, doesn’t mean you definitely have cancer. Because there are so many ranging symptoms, that’s why you need someone qualified to look at your mouth and jaw for early detection.

Also, know that it indicates follow up and further analysis is typically needed, because if you do have cancer, early treatment can make a critical difference in fighting the disease.

symptoms of oral cancerAnd Why is Early Detection So Important?

Which leads us to our next point: if oral cancer is discovered early, the remission rate with treatment is nearly 90 percent (5). (Remission is what doctors use when speaking about cancer to mean that there are no symptoms and no signs of cancer. This is used rather than the word “cure.”)

Approximately 60 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive at least 5 years, but this number is an average: The 5-year survival rate for those with localized disease (cancer restricted to the mouth) is 83 percent. But if the cancer has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body), the 5-year survival rate is only 32 percent.

Said another way, early detection gives you the best opportunity to diagnose the cancer while it is still localized, and before it spreads to other areas of the body (2).  

Remembering to schedule your regular dental appointment is important. Rest easy knowing we are not only trained to help treat and prevent dental problems, but also to keep a lookout and help spot signs of more serious concerns.

Is it time for your next dental appointment? Don’t delay your visit. Early detection saves lives. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (513) 251-5500.

Sources/References

  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/oral-cancer/warning-signs-of-oral-cancer
  2. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/OralCancer/DetectingOralCancer.htm
  3. http://www.atooth.com/oral-cancer/
  4. http://www.dentistry.com/conditions/oral-cancer/mouth-cancer-symptoms-early-warning-signs
  5. https://www.humana.com/learning-center/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/oral-cancer

What to Know About Oral Cancer, Eating Disorders & Decalcification

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

eating disorders and oral health

More than 10 million Americans are affected by serious eating disorders. These disorders can have serious ramifications for your overall health, as well as your oral health!2

A Serious Subject: Eating Disorders & Your Health

Two of the most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by repeated, excessive eating, followed by self-induced vomiting, also known as purging. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an extreme fear of gaining weight, a desire to be thin, self-induced starvation, and the inability to maintain a normal weight.

Both conditions deprive the body of crucial vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients required to maintain good health, including oral health. These deficiencies can lead to decalcification of the teeth.3

Decalcification is an early form of tooth decay and damage that can lead to further injuries or breakdown of teeth, more serious tooth decay, and cavities.

Eating disorders can also cause bad breath, tenderness of the mouth and throat, as well as swelling in the salivary glands. These disorders can lead to dry mouth, cracked lips, sores in the mouth, bleeding gums, and sensitivity of the teeth.1,2

The self-induced vomiting that occurs with bulimia nervosa causes powerful digestive acids from the stomach (that normally aren’t found in the mouth) to come in contact with the teeth. This acid attacks and wears away at the tooth enamel, causing erosion. This frequent purging can also change the color, shape, or even length of the teeth!1

Those with anorexia nervosa can experience osteoporosis and severe malnutrition, leading to weakening of the bones. This includes weakening of the jaw bone as well as weakening of the teeth and enamel, or even tooth breakage or loss.1

Long-Term Negative Health Effects

Long term malnutrition from eating disorders can lead to increased susceptibility to infections and other negative health effects.

The repeated vomiting of bulimia can damage the lining of the esophagus because of the repeated contact with the strong stomach acid and the micro-traumas of the tissue associated with the purging. A very small percentage of bulimics can develop bulimia-related cancer due to the damage to the esophagus.4

What to Know About Oral Cancer

Concerned about oral cancer? Early warning signs include lumps or growths in the mouth, throat or neck, patchy areas or lesions in the tissues of the mouth, hoarseness or difficulty swallowing, unusual bleeding, or persistent sores that don’t heal. Recall that when you come in for your regular visit, we look for signs of cancer—after all, we’re trained to do so.

Prevention and regular dental checkups are key when it comes to proper oral health as well as preventing oral cancer! Additionally, a healthy, nourishing diet is important to give your mouth and teeth the building blocks it needs to stay healthy.

prevention at hagen dds practice in cincinnati

Set Up Your Next Dental Visit at Hagen Dental Practice

If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, it is important that you seek professional help as soon as possible. Overcoming the eating disorder is the first step to healing the effects of the acid and nutrient deficiencies that come along with these conditions.

We can help you restore and work with some of the problems created from eating disorders (and that’s part of why we want to know about your health history, too.) Have any questions you want to know the answer to? We’d love to answer any of the questions you have! Schedule your next visit with Hagen Dental by calling us at (513) 251-5500.

References/Sources:

  1. http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/eating-disorder/
  2. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/Teens/concerns
  3. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/decalcification
  4. http://www.bulimiahelp.org/articles/bulimia-and-cancer-what-you-need-know
  5. http://www.atooth.com/oral-cancer/

 

Four Teeth Myths Debunked

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Myth or truth? It’s been said that George Washington wore wooden teeth!

Myth #1: If you have great oral hygiene habits, you don’t have to visit the dentist regularly. 

You may consistently floss. You may brush your teeth twice daily. Maybe you even take into account your eating habits and how that can affect your teeth.

Even if you have excellent dental hygiene, and believe you have no issues, it isn’t a good idea to skip a dentist visit. At a regular visit, your dentist doesn’t just look for tooth decay. Dentists will also be looking at your face, neck, lymph nodes, tongue and your jaw. Dr. Hagen is trained to examine your gums to see how they’ve changed, to look for any signs of gum disease, and of course to check on your fillings! We can’t stress enough the importance of early detection when it comes to preventing tooth loss or oral cancer.

Not only is there an examination phase, but most of us are a bit more aware of the dental cleaning phase. The importance of this phase is that it allows your dentist to remove long-term plaque and tartar that even great daily habits can’t totally diminish.

Myth #2: If your gums bleed when you floss, you shouldn’t do it anymore. 

Let’s first start with a refresher on why our gums are so important…it may seem simple enough, but our gum tissue is vital since it holds our teeth in place. Flossing, in turn, helps stimulate our gums.

When you notice that you have bleeding associated with your flossing, it could be a signal of several things. First, it could mean the gum is sensitive (perhaps because it hasn’t been flossed in a while). Or, it may be the first signs of gum disease. The good news is that your teeth will get conditioned to the stimulation of floss… And of course, there’s always floss made to be more sensitive on your gum tissue. We don’t mean to suggest you shouldn’t take bleeding as a serious sign–if you do have excessive and/or abnormal bleeding, it’s a good idea to call your dentist.

Myth #3: Mouthwash can replace flossing.

You see it shown in commercials, and it seems valid enough: mouthwash can get to the places that your toothbrush can’t…so it must be able to replace flossing, right? Wrong!

Sure, the fact that it’s an antibacterial liquid does mean it can kill bacteria around and between your teeth, but recall that flossing not only stimulates your gum, but it acts as a scraper, taking off food, and leftover plaque that is on your teeth. This simply can’t be replaced by using mouthwash.

Myth #4: Root canals have to be a high-anxiety, painful experience.

Let’s define the term that we’ve been taught should make us cringe: a root canal is the procedure done when there is no other way to save a tooth that might be very decayed or infected. Your pulp and nerve are removed from the center chamber of the tooth (the root canal), and then the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

The surprising truth is that most people do not report pain during a root canal procedure! The source of the excessive pain usually comes from the tooth that needs the root canal because it is suffering from an irreversible condition, such as tooth decay, not the procedure itself. So if there is any cringing, it would be before your procedure! Some people compare it to having a filling placed, and most people are back to performing their normal activities just the next day. Remember: the purpose of a root canal is to alleviate pain and salvage your tooth.

Have any other topics you believe could be a dental myth? Let us know on our Facebook page.

The Truth About Aging and Your Teeth

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

As people age, it’s common to worry about several health factors…But one the most important aspects relating to our overall quality of life is often forgotten: oral care!

The time to start healthy oral care habits to maintain throughout your lifetime is now!


Why care? For starters, you don’t want to lose your teeth – and gum disease and tooth decay become the leading causes of tooth loss as we age. And even if you don’t lose your teeth, you don’t want to have to deal with receding gums that can become a problem in your 40s or 50s.

What’s more, it is important to be aware that dental crowns and filling do need to be replaced as we age. Over time, filling materials can wear and chip at the edges of your fillings and they can become weaker. When you go to your dentist regularly, they can check the health of your dental restorations so you can replace it when you need to.

So what else should we know in relation to oral care as time goes by? When you are over the age of about 50, there can be change in your gums, which can promote tooth decay. What’s more is that older adults who take medication (antihistamines, diuretics, pain killers, high blood pressure medications and/or antidepressants) can potentially see some negative side effects including dry mouth (which can lead to more decay!), gum changes, and even taste changes. These are all good reasons to visit your dentist on a regular basis.

Keep this in mind: dental disease is actually almost entirely preventable – and isn’t inevitable with age! Plus, a white and healthy smile is a huge indicator of good health and youth! Take your health in your hands now so down the road you can still enjoy a high quality of life.

Check out our services tab on our website for more detailed information. If you’d like to setup an appointment with Hagen Dental, visit the About Us page on our website or stop in our office. Or, “follow” us on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Did you know that April is Oral Cancer Awareness month?

Survival rates for those who suffer from oral cancer are extremely low compared to other cancers. In fact, its roughly a 41 percent 10-year survival rate. The best preventative measure is early detection, which is why Hagen completes about 50 VELscope®-specific oral cancer screenings each month (and we screen each patient for cancer each time they are in.)

We also encourage patients to be open and honest about risk factors. These include:

  • Personal or family history of cancer
  • Exposure to the sun
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol abuse

Additionally, we encourage patients to tell Dr. Hagen if they notice common symptoms such as discolored white and red patches, bleeding, swelling, or persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth. Awareness of these symptoms is incredibly important because it drives patients to get screened sooner than later. There are about 30,000 new cases or oral cancer each year in the United States  and it is not uncommon for patients to come in for screenings only after the cancer is already in an advanced stage.

If you’ve noticed a change in your oral health or have not yet come in for your screening. Call Hagen today!

Want to learn more about the screening? Find information on VELscope® here.

What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer and VELscope®

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Each year, about 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. The cancer is much more prominent in males and is generally diagnosed in patients 60 years and older. It is historically discovered late in its development, which means that it is likely to be at a high risk cancer stage. Early stages of oral cancer do not always cause painful symptoms, so the disease often goes unnoticed. These are reasons why Hagen tests all our adult patients yearly for oral cancer with VELscope®, regardless of any risk factors. (We also always recommend a VELscope® screening to anyone who feels they may be at risk.)

Below are some risk factors taken from the National Cancer Institute:

  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • HPV
  • Personal history of oral cancer
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Betel nut use

Here are some noticeable symptoms we have taken from the Oral Cancer Foundation:

  • A mouth sore that does not heal within two week
  • Thickening of the cheek tissue
  • Patches of white or red discoloring on the gums, tongue, tonsil or mouth lining
  • Sore throat
  • Jaw and tongue tenseness
  • Tongue and mouth numbing
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Chronic hoarseness

VELscope® is non-invasive and has a fluorescence technology that facilitates earlier detection of abnormal tissue. During the procedure, VELscope® shines a safe blue light into your oral cavity. While  healthy tissue glows, abnormal or suspicious tissue remains dark.

VELscope® will detect, but not confirm that a patient has oral cancer. If detected, Hagen will recommend you to a specialist for a biopsy. VELscope® will detect any abnormality before it is visible to the human eye. It is a short exam and is recognized by the World Health Organization.

Do you think you may be at risk? To learn more about VELscope® call Hagen Dental at 513-251-5500 and schedule an appointment.