Eating, drinking, speaking, and smiling – our mouths play a significant role in our overall health and well-being. We often undervalue the importance of our mouth and oral care. This is probably why oral cancers are often overlooked and discovered too late in their development.
The mouth (oral cavity) can easily be examined, suggesting that it should be easy to detect cancer of the oral cavity at an early stage. Yet, in 2020 an estimated 53, 260 new persons developed oral and pharyngeal cancers and 10,750 persons died due to this disease in the United States. Unfortunately, incidences of these cancers have increased in the last 20 years. The overall 5-year relative survival rate of these cancers in the U.S. is 66.2 percent. Only 29 percent of these cases are detected at localized stage (confined to primary site only), when the 5-year survival rate is 85 percent. This means that half of the current deaths can be prevented by starting a mechanism to detect these cancers at an early stage.
In fact, the majority of these cancers can be prevented by a life-style change. Let’s get empowered to effectively fight this dreadful disease.
Who is More Likely to get Oral and Pharyngeal Cancers?
Despite tremendous advances, medical science cannot predict the chances of getting any cancer in a specific person, but the rate of new cases of cancer (cancer incidence) in populations is known. Based on 2013-2017 data, about 11.4 per 100,000 persons get this disease every year (114 persons in 1 million population). Males contract more of these cancers.
Use of tobacco (in any form), alcohol use, and infection with human papilloma virus are major causes. However, many persons without any of these risk factors are also known to have developed cancers of the oral cavity or pharynx. Therefore, it is important that everyone in the community remain vigilant about this disease. Fortunately, since oral cancers can be detected simply by clinical examination, patients can screen themselves for any changes in their mouths and can bring these concerns to their dentist or physician for further examination of the oral cavity and pharynx. Majority of the annual 53,000 cases of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx can be prevented.
What are Oral Potentially Malignant Disorders?
Cancers of the oral cavity are preceded by a stage called oral-potentially-malignant-disorders (OPMD). OPMDs are pre-cancerous lesions that have higher chances of developing oral cancers. OPMD can be observed ten or more years before the cancer develops. OPMD has several forms, but all can be easily seen only by a good clinical examination. Additionally, OPMDs can be cured by themselves, but one needs to be vigilant about persistent OPMDs. A Dentist or Physician will look at the same lesion after 2 to 3 weeks and will determine if the size of the lesion is increasing or decreasing. Further treatment of these lesions can prevent development of oral cancers. The treatment of OPMDs is much less invasive than treatment of cancers. All dentists are trained to detected OPMDs and early cancers. Pre-cancerous stage of cancers of the oral cavity can be detected more than 10 years in advance.
What Can I do to Prevent Oral Cancers?
Some areas in the world have established oral cancer screening programs. Under these programs, all adults are examined periodically for presence of OPMDs or cancers, generally once every three years. Repeated examinations ensure that no one with a tendency to develop OPMD is missed.
The U.S. does not have an oral cancer screening program. But patients can still protect themselves through self-examination, check-ups, and vigilance. Insurance provides for a free dental check up every six months. During your next visit, bring any concerns to your dentist and don’t be afraid to ask for clinical examination and screening for OPMD.
To prevent oral cancers:
- Conduct a self-examination at least once a month
- Visit the dentist every six months for routine exams
- Get yourself screened for oral pre-cancers and cancers
- Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products and decrease alcohol use
Check out this self-examination how-to video from checkyourmouth.org.
Have concerns with your oral health? Roseman Dental is committed to providing high-quality, affordable dental care for children, teens, and adults. Our dedicated resident and faculty dentists are ready to serve you and your oral health needs. Contact Roseman Dental to request a dental examination today!
Article by Kishore Chaudhry, MD
Kishore Chaudhry, MD
Research Associate Professor
Roseman University College of Dental Medicine
Dr. Chaudhry has over three decades of extensive research experience. A physician by background and a senior scientist in the fields of oncology and public health, he has been recognized as a preeminent epidemiologist worldwide. His contributions to the fields of tobacco and cancer research, oral cancer in particular, have played a critical role in several health policy changes, and planning control measures. With extensive research grant experience, Dr. Chaudhry has garnered millions of dollars in grant support from various national and international organizations. Over the last two decades, he has served on several expert planning committees with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international agencies. He has published extensively in various peer-reviewed journals and authored several book chapters in the topics of cancer research, tobacco control, asthma, and health care expenditure. He is an active reviewer and serves on the editorial board of numerous peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Chaudhry has held key administrative positions in academia as well as in health sector of the Indian government. During his tenure as the Dean and Chair of the Departments of Community and Family Medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS, Bhopal), one of the most reputable educational institutions in India, he was instrumental in the initiation and development of multiple new programs and departments and laid a strong research foundation. The most notable role that defines Dr. Chaudhry’s research accomplishments is his journey as an accomplished researcher to being the Director Level Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which is equivalent to the National Institute of Health (NIH). His extensive experience in multi-specialty and multi-center projects provided him the ability to work in different environments and design studies in accordance with constraints of different scientists and institutions.
We’ve all most likely been there – indulging in a box of Milk Duds® or bag of popcorn at the movie theatre and then all of the sudden you’re scrounging around your teeth with your tongue trying to get every little piece out from between your teeth. It’s a known fact – food gets stuck in teeth! Here is a list of the top five foods that cause a sticky situation and what to do about it:
Chewy candy such as jellybeans, taffy, caramels, or gummy bears make for an extremely sticky situation. The stickier the candy, the worse it tends to be for your teeth. A triple whammy of negatives – chewy, sugary, and acidic – these candies, especially the “sour” varieties, tend to stick to and between teeth for long periods of time. When this occurs, bacteria easily feast on the deposited sugar to make acid which dissolves the protective layer of teeth and in turn causes cavities.
From Jolly Ranchers® to lollipops, hard candies tend to cling to teeth. When hard candy clings to teeth it dissolves slowly and saturates the mouth for several minutes at a time. When this occurs, bacteria have more time to produce harmful acid which can cause decay over time. Many varieties of hard candy are flavored with citric acid. Citric acid is a known culprit of tooth enamel erosion. Additionally, if you bite down with force on some hard candies, you may chip your teeth which leads to an even stickier situation.
Seeds come in a variety of forms – from sunflower seeds to the tiny seeds on a bagel. Often times these types of seeds can wedge between your teeth and under your gums, and may feel impossible to remove. Additionally, many healthy treats have seeds that could present challenges as well. Raspberries and blackberries have small seeds that can become stuck between teeth or in the anatomical crown (top part) of your teeth.
Whether you like popcorn with or without butter, having a popcorn shell stuck in between your teeth or even your gums can cause irritation and frustration. If the shell isn’t removed from between your teeth or gumline, it could lead to an abscess.
It may be hard to deny the satisfying crunch and savory flavor of a potato chip, but this light and crunchy snack becomes a gooey substance when chewed that easily gets stuck in your teeth. Additionally, potato chips are full of starch that feeds the plaque inside your mouth.
Tips and Tricks for Sticky Situations
It’s hard to avoid sticky foods all together, but it’s important to avoid the urge to use your fingernails, tongue, or other sharp objects to remove stuck food particles. Doing this could cause harm to your teeth, gums, and tongue. Try these useful tricks instead:
- Keep floss handy and use it often.
- Swish water around your mouth to loosen food particles.
- Chew sugar-free gum to help unstick stubborn food pieces.
- Contact your dentist if you’re having difficulty
Causes of Food Getting Stuck in Your Teeth
If you seem to get food stuck in your teeth frequently, it may be cause for concern. The following causes may be the culprit:
If you’re struggling with food debris getting lodged in your teeth or gums, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist. The dentist will be able to rule out possible culprits or provide treatment if necessary.
Roseman Dental is committed to providing outstanding, affordable dental and orthodontic care. Contact Roseman Dental to request a dental examination or free orthodontic screening (Nevada location only) and consultation today!
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients and perform hundreds of roles in the body – including keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Your teeth and gums are the first point of contact for the nutrients you consume and kick off the digestion process. In fact, your teeth play a vital role in extracting the greatest amount of nutrients from your food as you chew.
Get more out of each bite. Below are five of the best vitamins and minerals for healthy teeth and gums, as well as foods associated with them.
The age-old adage of calcium helps build strong bones, couldn’t be truer when it comes to your teeth. Your teeth and jawbone rely on calcium to keep them healthy and strong. In addition, calcium helps prevent gum disease. Calcium rich foods consist of dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Don’t consume dairy products? There are several non-dairy, calcium rich alternatives:
- Calcium-fortified juices, cereals, breads, and plant-based milk alternatives such as almond milk or oat milk
- Canned fish
- Soybeans and soy products
- Leafy greens such as collard and turnip greens, kale, and bok choy
Vitamin A is great for your mouth as it aids in the production of saliva. Saliva helps to break down your food and works to clean the bacteria from between your teeth – preventing tooth decay. Vitamin A can be consumed through orange-colored fruits such as mangos, cantaloupes, papayas, apricots, tangerines, and nectarines. Additionally, vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers provide Vitamin A, as well as fish and egg yolks.
Vitamin C is essential in strengthening your gums. Without enough Vitamin C, your teeth can become loose and fragile as your gums weaken. Additionally, you’re prone to developing gingivitis and gum disease. To ensure you receive enough Vitamin C to keep your gums strong and healthy try to consume citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges, as well as peppers, kale, berries, and sweet potatoes.
Phosphorus helps your body absorb calcium and supports in building strong bones and teeth. Phosphorus is found in a wide range of foods including shrimp, tuna, salmon, soybeans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, beef, pork, and cheese.
Vitamin D is essential to a healthy mouth as it helps your body absorb both calcium and phosphorus. Therefore, it’s crucial to get an adequate amount of Vitamin D to get the most out of your calcium intake. Vitamin D deficiencies can take a toll on oral health and lead to several oral health disorders such as gingival inflammation, cavities, and gum disease. Soaking up some sun could help with Vitamin D levels. Additionally, Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, canned tuna, Portobello mushrooms, and fortified drinks and foods such as milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals.
Consuming a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy, lean meats is essential to your overall health and well-being – oral health included. Understanding how these essential vitamins impact your teeth and gums can help your extended oral care. Additionally, it’s important to stay up-to-date with your dental exams to ensure your oral health is in tip-top shape. If it’s been a while since you visited the dentist contact Roseman Dental to schedule a dental exam.
Gum disease is caused by repeated attacks of the bacteria that live in dental plaque. Plaque is what builds up on our teeth after bacteria mix with sugars from the food we eat. The bacteria release acids and cause a sticky film to form. This layer can harden over time if we do not brush or floss at appropriate times. If plaque is left unattended for extended periods of time, it can start to degrade enamel, the outer layer of the tooth.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Some factors that cause gum disease are poor oral hygiene, a high sugar diet, frequent alcohol consumption, long-term tobacco use, diabetes mellitus, cancer, fluctuating hormone levels, and some others. There are three stages of gum disease – gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a type of gum disease where some presence of inflammation, redness, swelling, and bleeding occur, especially during brushing and flossing. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene which can lead to an accumulation of plaque. Gingivitis, however, can be reversed by maintaining a frequent routine of brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is the intermediate stage of gum disease. In this stage, supportive bone and cartilage tissue deteriorate. Additionally, gum pockets start to develop, and plaque begins to deposit in the pockets below the gum line. To maintain the health of gum tissues in this stage, periodontal treatment such as scaling, and root planning are necessary to remove the plaque from deep pockets under the gum line.
What is Advanced Periodontitis?
If periodontitis is not maintained, it can progress to advanced periodontitis. In this stage, more bone is destroyed and cannot be reversed. Teeth may even be lost or shifted out of place. There are more aggressive forms of treatments which need to be done in this stage; without periodontal treatment, the teeth will likely require extraction. One of the treatment options for advanced periodontitis is flap surgery where the pocket size is reduced to maintain healthy gum tissue. Another treatment that can be done is bone grafting which prevents tooth loss by helping hold the tooth in place. The bone graft can be synthetic or may be composed of small fragments of the patient’s bone.
How can I Reduce my Chances of Gum Disease?
To prevent or reduce your chances of gum disease, you can incorporate the following measures in your lifestyle:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush – they’re more effective at removing plaque
- Floss every day
- Use a mouth wash to help reduce the accumulation of bacteria and plaque eventually
- Schedule regular dental cleanings with your dentist – every six months (twice a year)
Gum disease can often lead to severe problems. The preventative measures listed above are ample ways of preventing gum disease. While maintaining a frequent oral hygiene routine is important, it’s extremely important to visit your dentist for regular cleanings every six months (twice a year). The cleanings provided by your dentist will help remove any remaining bacteria or plaque – leaving you with a healthy, bright smile!
For affordable, high-quality dental care in Henderson, Nevada or South Jordan, Utah contact Roseman Dental and Orthodontics.
Article by Tanisha Khurana
DMD Candidate Class of 2023
Roseman University College of Dental Medicine
ASDA Chapter Fundraising Chair
Pediatric Club Outreach Coordinator
Whether you know it or not, your mouth and heart are linked. Your heart – an organ about the size of a fist – pumps blood through your body. Your mouth – made up of numerous components, including your teeth – shares the bloodstream with your heart. Therefore, your oral hygiene could directly affect your heart health.
Can my Oral Health Affect my Heart?
Our mouths are loaded with bacteria—some good, and some harmful. Without proper oral hygiene, the harmful types of bacteria can cause cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, harmful bacteria in the mouth could enter your bloodstream through inflamed gums and cause additional issues—such as heart disease.
Numerous studies have linked poor oral health to heart disease. Although expects can’t yet agree if there is a direct connection between gum disease and heart disease, there are several indications they may be linked due to the inflammatory properties of both diseases. In fact, those with gum disease are almost 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association.
Am I at Risk for Heart Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. About 1 in every 4 Americans die from heart disease each year. Knowing these facts along with the risks can help you identify if you’re at risk for heart disease.
Key risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. There are also several medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can put you at risk, including:
- Overweight and obesity
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
While scientific evidence hasn’t yet proven a cause-effect relationship between oral health and heart disease, researchers have uncovered oral bacteria within the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis – a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries. Left untreated, the deposits have the potential to narrow arteries or break loose and clog them – causing a heart attack or stroke.
What are the Symptoms and Warning Signs of Gum Disease?
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, over half of American adults suffer from gum disease. Research has shown that gum disease is associated with other chronic inflammatory diseases—such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it’s important to know the symptoms and warning signs.
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
How Do I Protect Against Gum Disease?
Although more than 80 percent of American adults have some form of gum disease, it is preventable. It’s important to have a good oral hygiene routine. Adding these habits to your routine can really make a difference.
- Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day
- Floss at least once a day
- Swish with mouthwash
- See your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning
- Minimize sugary beverages
- Eat a well-balanced diet
Make the Connection Last
While they might not be directly connected, your heart and mouth rely on each other a great deal. Both your heart and mouth love when you practice good oral hygiene and eliminate risk factors. Removing harmful bacteria from your mouth ensures it won’t slip into your bloodstream and affect your heart. In addition, show your mouth and heart some extra love by reducing risk factors – quit smoking, increase intake of fruits and veggies, control your blood pressure, and eat low-sugar foods and drinks.
It’s important to stay up to date with your dental exams to ensure your oral health is in tip-top shape. If it’s been a while since you visited the dentist or you’re experiencing any of the symptoms or warning signs discussed in this article contact Roseman Dental to schedule a dental exam.
If you have experienced a toothache before you would know that it can be one of the worst types of pain you could have. Sometimes it can be a sharp pain that interrupts sleep, other times it can be a dull, persistent pain. Below are some of the main reasons you might be experiencing a toothache.
5 Causes of Toothaches
1. A cavity- essentially a hole in your tooth
The outer layer of a tooth is a hard layer called enamel, the inner layer is dentin which is softer. Underneath dentin are the nerve and blood vessels. If the outer layer gets broken down by bacteria feeding on tooth structure, bacteria can leak into the insides of the tooth and cause a toothache. This is when a cavity occurs. As the cavity approaches the nerve, it can make teeth become very sensitive to hot or cold and cause pain. If not treated early on by doing a filling, a cavity can get larger and a root canal or extraction might be needed. This is why going to the dentist routinely is important to prevent extensive decay.
If you received a filling and it gave you pain afterwards, you may have been biting high on the filling and placing pressure on the one tooth instead of evenly distributing it over all the teeth. If your teeth are shifting, this can also cause tooth-related pain. To fix this, the bite would need to be adjusted.
Bruxism is a condition of unconsciously grinding or clenching teeth during the night or in the day. This can lead to pain in the jaw along with headaches and other problems if severe.
3. Sore gums
Food items can sometimes get dislodged under gums especially when eating hard food items. This can be quite painful and it can cause gums to swell up. Having gaps between teeth can cause food to be easily trapped, requiring frequent flossing to avoid discomfort due to trapped food. Having contact between teeth or having teeth that are touching neighboring teeth is necessary.
At times, people can develop severe periodontal disease. A deep cleaning is necessary to ease the pain and rule out periodontal disease as the source of the pain.
4. Cracked teeth
A cracked tooth can be another source of pain. It can be on an older filling and crack lines might be where the filling is on natural tooth. If the crack is small, it can be removed and a filling can be done to fix it but if it is large, a larger filling might be needed or the tooth may need to be extracted.
5. Wisdom teeth
You have probably heard of someone having a toothache from their wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth sometimes come out straight and feel like the other molars, causing no pain or discomfort. Other times they are hidden under the gums and can be coming out sideways, impacting the tooth next to it. This can cause a lot of problems in the future. Wisdom teeth can even cause jaw pain on either or both sides and might require the dentist to provide a referral to an oral surgeon to remove wisdom teeth.
A toothache could be an underlying issue of something severe. An oral exam or deep cleaning could be the key to relieving your pain and discomfort from a toothache. If you’re experiencing discomfort, contact Roseman Dental to schedule an appointment.
Article by Tanisha Khurana
DMD Candidate Class of 2023
Roseman University College of Dental Medicine
ASDA Chapter Fundraising Chair
Pediatric Club Outreach Coordinator