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Cancer takes such a tremendous toll on the victims as well as loved ones. Billions of dollars are spent each year on research and medications in the battle against head and neck cancer. There are more than 600,000 new head and neck cancer diagnoses every ear. What if there was a simple remedy to ward off the development of this terrible disease?

Aspirin + Cancer Connection

Recent research has shown that non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lower the risk of cancer. The researchers believe this is mainly achieved by reducing chronic inflammation, a driving force behind the development of many types of cancer.

Common NSAID’s include Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and Naproxen (Aleve). The research detailed the mechanism of NSAID’s. NSAID’s have been shown to inhibit  production of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme. By disrupting this pathway, the growth of abnormal cells is slowed and promotes apoptosis (normal programmed cell death). This disruption can help stop the development of cancer. Further studies also show that NSAID’s can also decrease the proliferation of cells and slow the growth of blood vessels that supply blood to tumors. This means, that while taking these drugs, we decrease growth of cancer cells, and cause cells to die when they should. Cells should only live and reproduce for a set amount of time so that they don’t become abnormal. Taking these drugs also decreases the blood supply that cancer cells need to grow and reproduce.

The specific study examined over 120,000 cancer patients, including 316 with head and neck cancer. About 49% reported regular use of aspirin and about 29% used ibuprofen.

Regular aspirin use showed a 22% decrease in head and neck cancer, and seems to be extremely effective in preventing laryngeal cancer. Oddly, there was greater reduction in head and neck cancer risk with weekly and monthly aspirin use than daily use. There was no association found between the use of ibuprofen and head and neck cancer.

Earlier studies have also shown aspirin to give protection in the case of Barrett’s esophagus. This condition is precancerous and often leads to esophageal cancer. About 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with Barrett’s related esophageal cancer each year. This is the fastest rising type of cancer in the U.S. More than 80% of patients with invasive esophageal adenocarcinoma die within five years of diagnosis.

While more research is needed the positive link is there although people should not be fooled into thinking that taking aspirin counteracts the dangers of mouth cancer. The risk factors are still in play in terms of drinking, smoking, and exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV). The aspirin will not counteract the risk factors.

Conclusion

While the jury is still out on the aspirin-cancer protection link and more research is needed, early reports are quite promising. It is amazing that aspirin still presents so many positive effects on us nearly 120 years since its discovery. The significance of these findings is, that many lives can be saved due to aspirin. Bottom line is, aspirin use is associated with a reduced risk of head and neck cancer. This effect is more pronounced in individuals with low  exposure to known cancer risk factors. Moderation in all things in life is the key to staying healthy for a long time.

A dental emergency can arise at any time. We can limit the chance of a toothache type of dental emergency by seeking regular dental care. Most dental issues take months (and in some cases years) to develop. A dental emergency can also occur following even the slightest trauma. Being prepared with a few items in a dental emergency kit can help you to provide care in the case of a trauma or other dental emergency. What are the most common emergencies and what else can you do if a dental emergency arises?

Common Dental Emergencies

-Broken or Fractured Tooth – This dental emergency can become quite painful very quickly. If the nerve of the tooth is exposed just the simple act of breathing will begin to hurt. This may also be a “cosmetic dental emergency”, usually if it involves damage to a front tooth without pain. Unfortunately, broken teeth cannot be fixed at home and will need immediate attention by a dentist. For a back tooth, a medicated filling may be placed until you can be seen by your dentist. A product called Dentemp can be purchased at the drug store, mixed and placed by you, to help temporarily cover the hole. Whether or not the tooth can be saved depends on how severe the break is. Until you are able to get to your dentist, rinse your mouth with warm water, apply a cold compress outside the affected area, and keep the area as clean as possible. May consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication to keep the swelling down as well as take the edge off the pain that can develop. It is not suggested to take aspirin, it will cause difficulties in clotting if the tooth needs to be removed.

-Injury to your Jaw/TMJ - If you suspect you may have broken your jaw, apply a cold compress to the area and immediately go to the dentist or to the emergency room. If you have locked or dislocated your jaw, you will need to have the jawbone re positioned back into your TMJ. Ice immediately.

-Painful swelling. This is a definite dental emergency and you should call your dentist immediately for care. Dental swelling is due to an infection called an abscess. This can lead to an infection that affects your entire body and in rare cases can lead to death. To relieve some of the pressure you will want to apply cold compresses to the area, rinse with saltwater, and try to keep your head elevated. Once an infection gets to this point, most over the counter medications will not do much to ease the pain. Antibiotics will be required, and drainage of the infection will require you to be seen by your dentist.

-Biting Lip or Tongue with excessive bleeding - If you accidentally bite your lip, tongue, or part in your mouth, clean the area and apply a cold compress to help decrease swelling. If the bleeding is extensive, or will not stop in a few minutes, call your dentist or go to the emergency room.

-Tooth That Becomes Loose - If one of your teeth is loose, see your dentist right away. Your dentist may be able to save the tooth. Until you are able to get to your dentist’s office, take tylenol or aleve and apply a cold compress to the affected area to relieve pain.  If the tooth is loose due to trauma, the dentist will most likely recommend splinting the loose tooth to an adjacent tooth or two to allow for the tooth to re stabilize in the bone. a loose tooth can also be caused by periodontal disease which will develop over a period of years. In that case, you may not be able to save the tooth and it may be recommended to remove the tooth and have a dental implant placed instead. Never touch or play with a loose tooth. The more movement it receives, the less likely you will be able to save it.

-Pericoronitis. This is an infection that can happen when your molars erupt into your mouth, a flap of gum tissue remains over the back end of the tooth, becomes irritated and swollen, and can be quite painful. If you experience symptoms of pericoronitis, which may include swollen and irritated gums, a bad taste/odor in your mouth, or you are not able to fully open your mouth, call your dentist right away.

-Sudden Or Severe Toothache. If your tooth is aching, rinse out your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the tooth to make sure there is nothing lodged between your teeth. Call your dentist immediately. This could be a gum irritation or infection, or a tooth problem such as a crack or infection.

-Tooth That Has Been Knocked Out (also called avulsed tooth) - The key here is to clean off the tooth immediately to remove any dirt and debris. You want to avoid scrubbing the tooth, just a gentle rinsing will be fine. If the tooth can be re implanted you should try to do so. This is not always possible if there is bleeding and swelling in the affected area. The second best option is to place the tooth in a milk solution. The milk will act as a preservative and increase the long term chances of a successful re implantation. You should call or see your dentist immediately even if you are able to re implant the tooth yourself. The tooth will probably need to be splinted to another tooth while it heals as well as have your dentist check that it is in proper alignment. The tooth will also need to be monitored over time to gauge the success of the re implantation as well as any long term affects that might happen due to the trauma.

-Lost Dental Filling or Dental Crown - Unfortunately, this dental emergency can happen at any time even with regular dental care. If your dental crown does come off call your dentist immediately for instructions. Most drug stores do sell fixodent, or temporary cement to place it back on until you are able to be seen by your dentist. This will limit the possibility of tooth decay developing or tooth sensitivity. The same can be done for a lost filling, most drug stores sell a temporary filling material that can be applied at home. Either way, you will need to seek dental care ASAP to prevent further damage from occurring.

-Damage To Braces - If you suspect or know that you have damaged your braces in some way, you should call your dentist or orthodontist. In some cases, they will want to see you right away (especially if the break is causing pain or discomfort) or they may recommend waiting until your next appointment.

-Food Or Debris Lodged Between Your Teeth - If food or debris gets stuck between your teeth, try to swish aggressively, then gently remove it with dental floss. Be careful not to cause undue trauma to the area. If the object still will not come free, call your dentist for further instructions.

Simple Dental Emergency Kit: 

Dentemp - temporary medicated filling-to fill in broken tooth areas.

Fixodent - to temporarily cement a crown back in.

Floss - to remove lodged debris.

Tooth Saver Container - to transport an avulsed tooth in a dental emergency.

Pressure activated ice pack, advil, gauze.

Dental Emergency Conclusion

Since, a dental emergency can lead to life threatening infections or tooth loss, you should seek dental care immediately. The sooner you are able to seek dental treatment, the better your chances are to minimize any life threatening conditions. Regular dental care will lower the chances of most dental emergencies ever occurring but if they do occur you need to ensure you choose a dentist who will be available to you after hours and on weekends. Many dental offices, will not re open or even take calls directly for dental emergencies after hours. This can be an important question to ask when choosing a new dentist. Be prepared, and you and those around you will be ready if or when a dental emergency occurs.

Herbal Supplements - are made from natural plants and are utilized by some people to supplement traditional medical treatments. Herbal supplements are not considered

Herbal Supplements Marielaina Perrone DDS

Be Smart About Herbal Supplements

drugs and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Agency (FDA). This absence of regulation means that the effectiveness, quality, and quantity of the ingredients have not been independently verified.

Herbal supplements have become a billion dollar industry with many people taking herbal supplements for a variety of ailments. But did you know that whether you take echinacia or aspirin you should always tell your dentist or physician what you are taking?

Everything you ingest, even vitamins, causes a certain reaction in the body. If your dentist does not know what drugs or herbal supplements you have taken, he or she will not know how to protect you from drug interactions. This is particularly important if you are undergoing any type of surgical treatment requiring general anesthesia.

Conventional Drugs Vs Herbal Supplements

Many prescription and over the counter drugs sold around the world are derived from plants but they are very different from herbal supplements. The prescription and over the counter medications must be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and undergo rigorous testing before coming to market. Even though, these drugs are derived from plants they are based around an active ingredient or chemical that the manufacturer synthesizes in a laboratory.

Herbal supplements are made from natural chemicals extracted from a plant and are produced either in original form (sometimes in combination with other herbal extracts) or refined. When an herbal medication is refined, the essential extract is taken out of the plant source, concentrated and then added back to make the original herbal medication more potent.

 Herbal Supplements and How They are Thought to Benefit Oral Health:

-Coenzyme Q10 promotes gum healing and cell growth.

-Lysine combats canker sores

-Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids promotes healing, especially of bleeding gums.

-Calcium and Magnesium help prevent bone loss around the gums.

-Vitamins A and E are used for healing gum tissue.

-Grape Seed Extract is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

-Zinc plus Copper enhances immune function.

-Aloe Vera Gel eases inflamed gums and soothes the tissues when applied directly to the affected area.

Herbal Supplements Marielaina Perrone DDS-Tea Tree Oils are believed to be antiseptic and anti fungal.

-Chamomile Tea is soothing to gum tissues.

-Green Tea is helpful in decay prevention and decreases plaque, increased antioxidants.

-Clove Oil is good for temporary relief of tooth and gum pain.

-Echinacea keeps inflammation down and enhances immune function.

Interactions to Avoid

Even seemingly harmless vitamin and herbal supplements can have serious side effects for certain dental patients. The following are some combinations of herbal supplements to be aware of:

-Ginkgo biloba and vitamin E can be dangerous when taken with aspirin because they each can act as blood thinners. The combination may cause difficulties in blood clotting, which could be serious for patients undergoing any type of oral surgery (such as a tooth extraction or periodontal surgery).

-Taking high dosages of vitamins before receiving anesthesia can also create issues. In particular, vitamin C, often taken in high dosages for cancer treatment, can weaken the efficiency of anesthesia.

-On the other hand, calming supplements, such as Kava Kava or St. John’s Wort, can strengthen the effects of anesthesia.

-Homemade tea tree supplements should be avoided, as they can cause irritation and burning.

Herbal Supplements And Dentistry Conclusion

People tend to think herbal supplements are harmless because they are considered natural, and they think, if one is good, 10 are better. Overdoing it, with supposedly safe herbal supplements, can cause health problems as serious as internal bleeding and heart arrhythmia. That is why it is so important to let your dentist and physician know when you are taking any herbal supplements to avoid any possible drug interactions or unforeseen consequences.

Always provide your dentist with a complete medical history, including any herbal supplements and conventional drugs you are taking. Some patients who take alternative herbal supplements are afraid their physician or dentist will not understand their decision to take an herbal supplement and will advise them to stop taking it. Your physician or dentist might even recommend an alternative, herbal solution for you.

If an herbal medication could interfere with your dental treatment, your dentist may ask you to stop taking the medication until the treatment is complete. The dentist also may be able to prescribe a different drug for treatment, if one is available. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and regular professional cleanings to keep your dental health.