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What you Should Know about Mouth Cancer

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Mouth cancer is one of the less known types of cancer as it usually attacks people over the age of 40. However, the disease is increasingly being seen in people under this age particularly tobacco users. Mouth cancer will more likely kill a victim than say cervical cancer because many people are not aware they have it until it is too late.

What causes mouth cancer

Mouth cancer has been linked to alcohol and tobacco use in many cases. It is more prevalent in communities that have a culture of chewing tobacco. Users of gutkha, paan, and betel quid have been the largest segment of mouth cancer victims.  Smoking tobacco is also a risk factor.

The disease has also been linked to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus often attacks the cervical lining in women. However, it is being linked to mouth cancer in individuals who practice oral sex.

People who are over 40 years and fit the risk profiles are more susceptible to mouth cancer than those in the lower ages.

Signs and symptoms

Mouth cancer can attack any part of the mouth including lips, tongue, throat, sinuses, pharynx and larynx. Dr. Rob Andrew says some of the early symptoms are;

  • Red or white lesions in the mouth or on the lips
  • Swellings, lumps, sores and thick patches in any part of the mouth or the throat.
  • Difficulty and discomfort when speaking, chewing, swallowing and when moving the jaw.
  • Feeling like there is a lump in the throat
  • Prolonged sore throat
  • Pain, numbness or tenderness in any part of the mouth even on the tongue.
  • Loss of teeth with no visible reason.

Early detection

The Urban Smiles Family Dental clinic recommends regular dental check-ups to identify any signs of trouble. As well as checking on the health of the teeth and gums, the dentist is able to observe any anomalies on other parts of the mouth including the tongue and lips.

If detected, treatment for mouth cancer will require surgery which will be followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Early detection is the best defense against the disease.

Can it be prevented?

Like other cancers, mouth cancer will be triggered by favourable conditions like presence of toxins from tobacco and alcohol. Reduction or kicking away chewing and smoking tobacco can reduce the risks of developing the disease.

Good oral hygiene for people who use tobacco and alcohol is also recommended. Proper brushing and flossing should be done. Regular visits to the dentist can also help detect any danger signs.

Urban Smiles Family Dental

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What is the Importance of Dental Flossing?

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The definition of proper dental hygiene stops at brushing teeth for many people. While it is effective at getting rid of most of the food debris left in the mouth, there is still a substantial amount that is left behind. Brushing cleans only two surfaces; the top and outer surfaces. The tooth has five surfaces which means three surfaces are left untouched by brushing.

Dr. Rob Andrew says that flossing is the best option for effective cleaning between the teeth. While antibacterial mouthwash can kill bacteria between the teeth, it does not clean remove the hard coating (tartar) that can build up on teeth surfaces when food particles are cleaned off properly.

Decay prevention

Tooth decay has been observed even in people who brush regularly. This is because the unreached plaque between the teeth encourages growth of acid producing bacteria, and this acid attacks the teeth enamel. For people who brush but not floss, tooth decay has been seen to originate between the teeth.

Tartar can also build up at the point where the tooth meets the gum. If this is not scraped off or removed by flossing, it can lead to swelling of the gum which is also called gingivitis. When this condition goes unchecked, the tartar can get under the gum and can lead to periodontitis.  At severe stages, this leads to infection, tooth and jaw bone loss.

The Urban Smiles Family Dental clinic observes that flossing can also prevent onset of other diseases that come about due to the presence of harmful bacteria in the mouth. It has been seen that people who suffer from periodontitis are also at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and respiratory complications.

More effective

When flossing is combined with brushing, dental hygiene is more effective. Flossing removes tartar between the teeth allowing fluoride in the toothpaste to reach more surface of the tooth. This allows the mineral to stop and reverse tooth decay.

More attractive

Flossing makes for a brighter and whiter smile. By combining brushing and flossing you will have teeth that are uniformly clean which makes your smile better. You look more attractive and welcoming.

By keeping your mouth clean, flossing ensures your breath is always fresh. This is important to keep the people around you comfortable.

Save money

By preventing serious mouth medical complications, you avoid spending a lot of money. Treating tooth decay or gum disease will easily cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Avoid this with regular flossing.

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Does your Child have Bad Breath?

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Bad breath in children is uncommon but still a problem for some children. Bad breath in a child usually points to a bigger problem. It can be as simple as a dry mouth or as serious as a lung abscess. Prolonged bad breath in a child that is not solved by swishing some water in the mouth or brushing should be looked into more closely.

Dr. Rob Andrew points out the common causes of bad breath;

Dry mouth

Saliva washes away food particles from the mouth. When the mouth is producing less than needed (xerostamia), bacteria can accumulate and lead to bad breath.

Poor dental hygiene

Kids need to brush and floss too. If this is not done regularly and properly, plaque accumulates on the teeth and gums. Bacteria grow on the tongue leading to bad breath. Kids should be taught to brush the teeth too.

Foreign objects

Kids especially those under three tend to stick all manner of objects in their noses. If there is something lodged in the nose, the kid will breathe through the mouth making it dry hence bad breath.

Illnesses

If your kid has a cold or allergy that is making the nose stuffy and blocked, she will try to breathe through the mouth drying it out. More serious illnesses like tonsillitis and lung abscesses can also make the child have bad breath if there is body tissue breaking down.

Food

Strong odor can come from eating foods with strong smells like garlic or onions.

Poisoning

Ingestion of some poisons leaves telltale breath. This includes swallowing turpentine, cyanide, acetone, alcohol, phenol, and salicylate.  The kid’s breath will smell like acetone, bitter almonds or violets. This should signal an emergency and prompt a call to the emergency services.

Eliminating bad breath

  • Instilling good dental hygiene. Be a role model in dental hygiene. Show the child how to brush properly including brushing the tongue. Ensure the kid brushes at least twice a day with kid-friendly toothpaste.
  • Daily flossing to clean particles caught between the teeth.
  • Changing toothbrushes often for better brushing using sharp bristles.
  • Regular checkups by the dentists. Kid friendly dental clinics like Urban Smiles Family Dental will work on your kid without the child developing dental phobia.

Chronic halitosis

This is prolonged bad breath that is not eliminated by the means above.  The best thing is to have the kid looked into more closely the dentist.  Doing this early enough can prevent worsening of a bad condition for example tonsillitis.

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