Posts for: March, 2015
While genetics certainly plays a role in a person's susceptibility to various forms of cancer (including oral cancer), there are lifestyle factors that also play a role.
In the case of developing oral cancer, there are a number of prominent lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk: protect yourself from too much sun exposure; avoid the use of any type of tobacco (smoke and smokeless); limit your intake of alcoholic beverages to a moderate level; abstain from risky sexual behavior; and eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as other whole foods.
That last lifestyle change not only reduces your level of negative exposure from the environment, it may also provide a positive effect as well. For example, normal cellular function produces unstable molecules known as “free radicals” that can damage the DNA structure within the cell; this could be a precursor to the development of cancer. There are natural substances, however, that can help protect cells against the damage caused by free radicals. These are known as “antioxidants” and they are abundant in many plant-based foods. You, of course, may know them by other names: vitamins, carotenoids (found in red and orange fruits and vegetables) or fiber, to name a few.
A well-balanced diet can provide these and other kinds of cancer-fighting nutrients. And, it's important that you eat the source of these nutrients — fresh plant-based foods. Studies have shown that dietary supplements can't match the effectiveness of actually eating fruit and vegetables.
Besides lowering your cancer risk, a plant-based, whole food diet will also result in better oral health. Diets heavy in processed foods with high amounts of sugar or other bacteria-friendly substances inhibit good oral health.
If you would like more information on the role of diet in reducing your risk to cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer.”
Keeping your teeth free from cavities means partaking in good dental hygiene habits every day. Unfortunately, whether it's because we're too busy, too tired, or simply don't want to, keeping up with simple everyday practices like brushing and flossing can fall by the wayside over time.
At Danbury Smiles, George L. Landress, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., and his staff of dental assistants offer the most revolutionary way to keep track of your dental health with the DIAGNOdent Laser. That means that patients who have had their dental health neglected for whatever reason can find comfort in the preventive methods of this innovative new dental technique, which can locate cavities early - before they've become too extensive. Dr. Landress highly values both identifying and preventing dental issues before they become too harrowing for patients' mouths. In the case of cavities, spotting them before they're out-of-control gives your dentist - and you - a better chance at defeating tooth decay without relying on invasive techniques like root canals later.
The DIAGNOdent laser can bring your mouth:
- relief through early cavity detection
- smaller and fewer fillings in the future, cutting the cost of your dental bill
- smaller risk of needing invasive dental exploration techniques for cavities later
How The DIAGNOdent Laser Works
At first, your teeth will be examined by the technology using a state-of-the-art laser. Because healthy teeth reflect less light than tooth surfaces with decay do, the laser will focus on those tooth areas that have a greater amount of fluorescence. When the fluorescence is extremely noticeable, that's an indication that the tooth decay has reached a critical point and probably needs to be removed.
After the scan has been conducted, the results are converted into a digital reading that makes it easy for dentists to evaluate. Even you will be able to tell if you have tooth decay, as the machine emits an audio signal that gets higher in tone when it spots cavities.
For more information on the innovative DIAGNOdent Laser and how it can catch cavities before they've taken hold in your mouth, give Dr. Landress a call today at (203) 743-7608 for big-time dental relief right here in Danbury, CT!
Actor Michael Douglas shocked TV audiences across the country when he announced on the David Letterman Show in 2010 that he has stage IV oral cancer. Fortunately, the cancer had not spread and his radiation and chemotherapy treatments were successful. This year, Douglas teamed up with the Oral Cancer Foundation to warn others about the dangers of the disease and the importance of early detection. In particular, he wants younger people to know that even if they don't smoke and drink a lot, as he admitted to Letterman that he did, they are still at risk.
As Douglas states in a PSA he made with the foundation, “the fastest growing segment of the people developing oral cancers are young, non smokers.” That's due to a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus known as HPV16 that can be transmitted through oral sex. So it's important to avoid risky sexual behaviors and to be screened regularly for this devastating disease that claims one life every hour in the U.S., according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
An oral cancer screening is a simple visual and tactile exam done right here at the dental office. We will feel your neck for lumps and inspect your lips and all inside surfaces of the mouth, including the back of your throat, for any suspicious signs. If any are found, a biopsy (laboratory analysis of a tissue sample) can be ordered.
Most oral cancers are “squamous” (small scale-shaped) cell carcinomas that occur in the lining of the mouth and are often preceded by recognizable changes (lesions) of the oral membranes. White or red patches begin to form in the pre-cancerous stage, and as the cancer develops, a non-healing ulcer may appear. If you notice any such changes in your mouth, please let us know.
Michael Douglas ends his PSA with the following plea: “So please, the next time you visit your dentist or your medical doctor, ask for this simple screening. Finding oral cancer in its earliest stages may save your life.” We agree, which is why we always perform this screening during your regular dental check-up. If it's been a while since your last appointment, please come in and see us.
If you would like more information about oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about the disease in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”