Heavy Drinking Linked to Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in men worldwide and almost two-thirds of cases are in advanced stages by the time they are detected. A number of risk factors have long been associated with oral cancer including smoking, human papilloma virus (HPV), gender and age. Recently, heavy drinking has also been linked to oral cancers, especially when occurring in conjunction with other risk factors.

The term “oral cancer” refers to cancers of the lip, tongue, floor of mouth, tonsils and soft palate. If you notice any sores, swelling or discolorations that do not heal on their own after two weeks it is important that you consult your dentist. Early detection can greatly increase your chances of a full and speedy recovery.

The vast majority of oral cancer cases are linked to tobacco use, and the greater frequency and duration of use of tobacco products is directly proportional to increase in risk of oral cancer. Heavy drinking can also increase your risk of oral cancer, but it is the combination of tobacco use and heavy drinking which really causes your risk to skyrocket. It has been estimated that this combination can cause up to a 100-fold increase in your risk of oral cancer.

Men are about twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer and the average age at the time of diagnosis is 62 years. It has been estimated that HPV — which is usually associated with cervical cancer – is responsible for 20 to 30 percent of oral cancers.

If you develop oral cancer, you dentist may suggest a number of dental treatment options, including surgically removing the affected cells, radiation or chemotherapy.

Remember, early detection is indispensible in fighting oral cancer so consult your dentist immediately if you notice any irregularities that do not disappear within two weeks. Your dentist can provide an oral cancer exam at each of your regular dental visits.


Bulimia Nervosa – Figuring It Out

Bulimics often try to hide their disease from their loved ones. If you believe a friend or family member may be suffering from bulimia effects, there are several signs to help you determine the problem:

  • Frequent vomiting
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Obsession with weight or low self-esteem
  • Abnormal eating habits: fasting followed by eating a large amount of food, bizarre food rituals or a poor diet
  • Hiding or stealing food
  • Repeated tooth brushing or use of mouthwash
  • Excessive use of laxatives
  • Recurrent stomach ailments
  • Tiredness or diziness
  • Over-exercising

Diagnosis and Treatment

For those who suffer from bulimia effects, there is help! If you or someone you know has bulimia, contact a physician for a medical evaluation. Individual therapy and support groups are most helpful in treating the psychological aspects of the disease. Dentists also play a key role in bulimia treatment. Dentists are often able to suspect when a patient is bulimic, due to the specific side effects that repeated vomiting has on teeth.

Once the bulimic has decided to seek help, dental care will become a significant part of their bulimia treatment. As long as the bulimic continues to binge and purge, they will probably suffer from frequent cavities and bleeding gums. Restorative dentistry options may include tooth filling and gum disease treatment, but ongoing bulimia treatment may be needed until the bulimia is cured. In the meantime, fluoride treatments will help reduce sensitivity. A cap or dental crown is often needed to repair extremely damaged teeth, but is usually recommended only after the bulimic can control vomiting.

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Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder in which the sufferer binges and purges their food. Unlike anorexia, where starvation is used to lose weight, bulimia entails consuming a large amount of food, only to expel it soon afterwards by inducing vomiting, using laxatives or exercising excessively. Those who suffer from bulimia are referred to as bulimics, and it most often affects teenage girls and young women.

Considered a mental disorder as well, bulimia makes those who suffer from it feel a loss of control. Stemming from a negative body image, bulimia can wreak havoc on both the body and mind. Bulimics often feel they are “fat,” no matter what the scale says. They may feel depressed or guilty that they can’t stop the disease on their own. And many bulimics display an overachieving behavior and an obsession with weight loss.

A Negative Effect

Although bulimia nervosa is characterized by binging and purging at least twice a week, bulimics often have more frequent episodes. Many force themselves to throw up daily, which is an extremely unhealthy way to lose weight. Stomach bloating, cramping, constipation, dehydration and exhaustion are common side effects from the constant vomiting and lack of nutrition. Bulimics may also notice swelling in the hands, lower legs, feet or salivary glands.

Not only does it do damage to your body, but bulimia nervosa has a devastating effect on teeth! As acid from the stomach enters the mouth, it erodes tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay and tooth discoloration. It not only looks bad, but bulimics often suffer from toothaches, multiple cavities, dry mouth, oral lesions and bleeding gums. For those who have silver dental fillings, the amalgam will appear “raised” due to the reduction of tooth enamel. And having dental braces won’t help — dental restorations and appliances can also become loose and dislodge from the jaw.

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Facts of Dentin

Dentin is semi-reparable. It has reparative capabilities because the odontoblasts that create dentin remain viable after the teeth erupt. When excessive wear, cavities or other irritants start to degrade the dentin, reparative secondary dentin is laid down.

As helpful as this is, the enamel that covers dentin is NOT reparable, so again, your biyearly trip to the dentist is mandatory, as is daily brushing and flossing.

When you get dental cavities, you get them in dentin. Generally, if you get an infection, you get that in the pulp of the tooth. But enamel can wear away by chewing ice or other irritants, thereby making dentin more susceptible to dental cavities and tooth loss.

The most important thing you can do to protect your teeth’s dentin is to brush twice daily and floss every single night — not just when it occurs to you! And don’t forget to see your dentist at least twice a year to keep dentin in tip-top shape.

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Dentin

Dentin is the technical name for your teeth — well, the substance that makes up your teeth, rather. Dentin is almost bone-like and it makes up most of the structure of your teeth. Dentin is made from cells called odontoblasts and is found under the enamel of the crown and under the cementum in the root.

Dentin is yellow in appearance; it’s the tooth’s enamel that gives teeth their bright white finish. Since enamel is relatively translucent, if not properly cared for by regular brushing, regular flossing and regular dental visits — your teeth can dull and become yellow as enamel starts to wear off. At that point, only the yellowish dentin is left.

Structure

“Dentin consists of microscopic channels, called dentinal tubules, which radiate outward through the dentin from the pulp to the exterior cementum or enamel border.” This is all very technical for the biology of dentin, which is a very detailed and complicated process that occurs in the tiniest square footage — our individual teeth!

The highly specialized connective tissue of dentin makes up most of the structure of your teeth. If the inside (pulp chamber) gets infected and is removed by your dentist, dentin will become brittle and can fracture far more easily than normal. This is why, after a root canal, you are generally fitted with a cap or a dental crown.

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Cold Sores

Cold sores form outside the mouth, usually on the lips, but they may appear on the chin, outside of the cheek or the nostrils. They begin as a red blister, burst and crust over and last for 7-14 days.

Cold sores – caused by the herpes simplex virus (type 1) – are contagious; they transmit by skin-to-skin contact. The virus, carried by almost everyone, is dormant most of the time. Fever blisters occur most often in young adults and adolescents and decline in people over 35 years of age. Certain factors activate its outbreak, particularly stress, colds, fevers and/or sunburn.

To reduce occurrences, avoid kissing when the blisters are visible. Also, don’t squeeze or scrape the blister. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching someone else and use UV sunscreen on your lips before spending time in the sun.

Treatment of cold sores includes avoiding spicy and hot foods that will irritate them, application of phenol-containing over-the-counter ointments and administration of some anti-viral antibiotics that will shorten their duration (but not prevent their outbreak).

If you’re worried about canker or cold sores, call our office. We’re here to help you deal with these common afflictions and will offer additional treatment recommendations, as necessary.

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Fever Blisters and Cold Sores

What’s the difference between a fever blister and a cold sore?

Fever blisters and cold sores are two of the most common disorders in the mouth. They cause discomfort, annoyance, and sometimes, embarrassment. Both cause sores to develop in or around the mouth, and are often confused with each other.

The difference is that a cold sore occurs only on the inside of the mouth (tongue, linings of the cheeks, lips and throat) and fever blisters usually occur outside the mouth on the lips, chin, cheeks or nostrils.

If they do occur in the mouth, they are usually on the roof of the mouth or gums. They will appear smaller than cold sores and often begin as a blister.

Please contact our family dentist Dr Bagga at Caliber Dental, Randolph NJ


Oral Cancer

As your dental office, it is our responsibility to be more than just your tooth doctor — we also want to contribute to your total body health.

That’s why we do a full oral cancer screening at every checkup. This quick and easy exam can catch oral cancer before it starts! Early detection, as with any cancer, is crucial in a positive outcome.

Some warning signs to look for:

  • Bumps/sores in the mouth that bleed easily and don’t disappear on their own within 14 days
  • Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Numbness in mouth/facial area

So don’t neglect your six-month checkup. Not only will we clean your teeth we’ll also make sure you’re cavity-free. We are committed to your overall health, because your health is our top priority.

Please contact our office Caliber Dental (973) 537-7500 or info@caliberdental.com to schedule appointment.


Soft Drinks Not Hard To Swallow – Just Too Sweet

During the past 20 years, American women increased their consumption of soft drinks by 61%, and during the same time, children and adolescents more than double theirs. Along with this, the incidence of diabetes in adults increased by 80%, and even more in children. This is understandable, since long-continued, almost daily consumption of sugar in excess causes obesity and stresses and exhausts the pancreas, the gland that produces insulin. Insufficient insulin production by the pancreas is the most common cause of diabetes. In the USA, soft drinks are now a major dietary source of sugar.

Researchers have discovered that about 71 million Americans (about a quarter of the population) are obese. A large number of these obese people will develop type-2 diabetes, with its associated high risks of atherosclerosis and premature death from heart attack and stoke. If you wish to reduce your risks of becoming obese and diabetic, take it easy with soft drinks.

Sources: Journal of the American Medical Association (292:927, ’04) and British Medical Journal (329:530, ’04)


Toothpaste and Orange Juice – Not a Good Match

Ever wonder why orange juice tastes so bad after you brush your teeth?

You can thank sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) for ruining your drink, depending on which toothpaste you use. Both of these chemicals are surfactants — wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid — that are added to toothpastes to create foam and make the paste easier to spread around your mouth. They’re also important ingredients in detergents, fabric softeners, paints, laxatives, surfboard waxes and insecticides.
While surfactants make brushing our teeth a lot easier, they do more than make foam. Both SLES and SLS mess with our taste buds in two ways. One, they suppress the receptors on our taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting our ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they break up the phospholipids on our tongue. These fatty molecules inhibit our receptors for bitterness and keep bitter tastes from overwhelming us, but when they’re broken down by the surfactants in toothpaste, bitter tastes get enhanced.
So, anything you eat or drink after you brush is going to have less sweetness and more bitterness than it normally would. Is there any end to this torture? Yes. You don’t need foam for good toothpaste, and there are plenty out there that are SLES/SLS-free. You won’t get that rabid dog look that makes oral hygiene so much fun, but your breakfast won’t be ruined.