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Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April, 2013

 

Oral Cancer Facts

-Expected to have approximately 42,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in 2013 alone.

Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

VELscope Saves Lives From Oral Cancer

-Males account for almost 70% of all new cases.

Survival Rates of Oral Cancer

1 year – 89% survival

5 year – 56% survival

10 year – 41% survival

-Approximtely 8,000 deaths per year from oral cancer.

Age 0-44 – 9%

Age 45-54 – 20%

Age 55-64 – 29%

Age 65-74 – 21%

Over Age 75 – 21%

Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

Keep The Whole Family Healthy With Regular Oral Cancer Screenings

Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

-Family History of Cancer

-Presence of HPV-16 Virus

-Smoking Tobacco – Increases risk by a factor of 6.

-Alcohol Consumption – Increases risk by a factor of 6.

-Chewing Tobacco – Increases risk by a factor of 50!

-25% of all new oral cancer cases are patients who never smoke and only drink on occasion (or never). This is where the biggest growth of new oral cancer cases is occurring.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

-White or red patches.

-Long term earache that never seems to go away.

-Bleeding.

-Tooth Loss

-Sores in mouth that never heal.

-Lumps in head and neck area.

-Numbness of jaw or surrounding tissues.

-Pain upon swallowing.

Early Diagnosis Is The Key To Beating Oral Cancer

The earlier the cancer diagnosis is made and the quicker treatment is begun, the better chance for a successful long term prognosis from oral cancer. Oral cancer will spread very quickly and needs to be found early in its localized state before it progresses to other parts of the head and neck as well as the rest of the body.

The tool of choice in early diagnosis of oral cancer by many dentists is the VELscope. The Velscope uses a special light that can distinguish normal healthy tissue from precancerous and cancerous tissues. The VELscope examination takes about 1-2 minutes (and is non invasive!) and has literally saved thousands of lives. There are currently about 10,000-12,000 VELscopes in the United States alone. Make sure your dentist has a VELscope to ensure you are getting proper dental care for the possibility of oral cancer development.

Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

As any baseball fan will tell you, baseball players for years have been using chewing tobacco (also known as smokeless tobacco). Did you know, that the risk of developing oral cancer by using smokeless Smokeless Tobacco Marielaina Perrone DDStobacco products is just as high as from smoking cigarettes?

Smokeless tobacco is tobacco that is not burned. It is also known as chewing tobacco, oral tobacco, spit or spitting tobacco, dip, chew, and snuff. Most people chew or suck (dip) the tobacco in their mouth and spit out the tobacco juices that build up, although a spit less smokeless tobacco has also been developed. Nicotine in the tobacco is absorbed through the lining of the mouth.

People in many countries use smokeless tobacco, but America’s favorite pasttime has been the one that has popularized it for many young Americans. Up until recently, major league baseball players were able to carry it in their back pocket on the field. Generally, you could see the outline of the tin in their back pockets as well as from time to time they would remove it to refill the tobacco in their mouths. Now, under new rules agreed to by the players union and owners, major league baseball players can no longer carry the smokeless tobacco tins in their pockets onto the field. They are also banned from using smokeless tobacco during televised interviews, team or league sponsored appearances, autograph signings and other events where fans are present. They can, however, continue to chew it while they play as long as those familiar round tins are not visible in their back pockets.

How Does Smokeless Tobacco Differ From Smoking?

Smokeless tobacco contains at least three known carcinogenic agents: N-nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and the radioactive polonium 210. Also, abrasive ingredients are added to the chewing tobacco that inflict tiny nicks in the gums and thin epithelial lining of the cheeks in order to more quickly transport nicotine (and carcinogenic additives) into the bloodstream. Prompted by the irritating juices from smokeless tobacco left in the mouth for prolonged periods of time, precancerous leukoplakias (white areas) develop into cancers in 3-5% of smokeless tobacco users.

Unlike lung cancer from smoking tobacco, which typically develops after decades of use, these precancerous lesions can come on very quickly.

Celebrities promoting chew are very influential. About 12-15 million in the United States will use a chewing tobacco product this year alone. Six million Americans use it every day. And according to the National Cancer Institute, between 35-40% of professional baseball players use smokeless or “spitting” tobacco.

Approximately 40,000 Americans will develop oral cancers this year. Between 80%-90% of these oral cancer cases will be directly related to the use of some form of tobacco, including smokeless

Despite many advances in the treatments options for oral cancer, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, these patients still have only a 60% chance of a five-year survival rate.

Cosmetic Effects of Smokeless Tobacco

The detrimental and readily apparent cosmetic effects can be far greater — and develop far more quickly — with spitting tobacco than with cigarettes.

There are many visible signs of smokeless tobacco use. These can include:

-Tooth abrasion – The gritty abrasives in smokeless tobacco scratch and wear down teeth and gums.

-Loss of Tooth Enamel – Premature loss of tooth enamel can cause teeth sensitivity.

-Gum Recession – Injured gums pull away from the teeth. This can result in permanently damaged periodontal tissue, increased sensitivity to heat and cold, loss or breakdown of supporting bone structure, and accelerated loss of teeth.

-Tooth cavities – Sugar is an additive in smokeless tobacco and stays in the mouth while using chewing tobacco. Thereby, increasing risk of tooth decay.

-Discolored teeth – Stained teeth are the rule in smokeless tobacco users.

-Halitosis or Bad breath – Sticky tobacco residues are a breeding ground for bacteria.

-White corrugated tissue – chronic irritation of the same area of the mouth causes the gum or lip tissue to form a white calloused appearance. This is generally precancerous, but can become cancer.

Signs of Oral Cancer

-A sore that will not heal or go away.

-An unexplained lump or bump in the mouth.-White, red, or off-color patches on cheeks and gums.
-Prolonged sore throat that never seems to go away.-Difficulty chewing or swallowing.-Restricted movement of the tongue or jaw.-A feeling of something in the throat.-Numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth.

Conclusion on Smokeless Tobacco and Oral Cancer

Smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Using smokeless tobacco may also cause heart disease, gum disease, and oral lesions other than cancer, such as leukoplakia (precancerous white patches in the mouth).

All tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, contain nicotine, which is addictive. Users of smokeless tobacco and users of cigarettes have comparable levels of nicotine in the blood. In users of smokeless tobacco, nicotine is absorbed through the mouth tissues directly into the blood, where it goes to the brain. Even after the tobacco is removed from the mouth, nicotine continues to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Also, the nicotine stays in the blood longer for users of smokeless tobacco than for smokers.

The level of nicotine in the blood depends on the amount of nicotine in the smokeless tobacco product, the tobacco cut size, the product’s pH (a measure of its acidity), and other factors.

Many believe smokeless tobacco is a harmless habit, it most definitely is not. The effects of smokeless tobacco happen very quickly and can affect young people as well as old.

There are many methods available to help with quitting. Remember, it is a habit, albeit a life threatening one, but it can be stopped. If you want to live a healthier life, you’ll need to stop using tobacco products entirely.

 

It is estimated that well over 1 billion people in the world smoke. Many of these smokers have their health directly affected by their choice of habit. Research has shown time and again that smoking is a significant hazard to a person’s general well being but it has been less publicized the effect smoking has on a person’s dental health.

Logically, the mouth is the primary recipient of the tars, nicotine, and smoke from either smoking or chewing tobacco. The tissues of the oral cavity would be the first to come into contact with these harmful and toxic materials. Even though the smoke is in the mouth for only a short period of time it is more than enough time for it to cause damage.

The following are some of the effects smoking has on a person’s dental health:

1) Increased risk of developing oral cancer. Oral cancer affects almost 40,000 Americans each year. Oral Cancer kills one person per hour (totals about 8,000 deaths per year). Only a little more than 50% of those 40,000 diagnosed, will be alive in 5 years. This is a sobering statistic that has stayed steady for quite a few years. Around the globe, the problem is even greater. There are a reported 640,000 new cases of oral cancer each year.

2) Increased risk of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a leading cause of tooth loss. The most recent research studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and advancement of periodontal disease.  A study published in journal of periodontology highlights that smokers are 4X more likely to suffer from advanced periodontal disease. Also, the chemicals in tobacco can make oral surgery or periodontal treatments less predictable. It seems that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease. Every Time you inhale, the blood vessels in the mouth constrict and impair blood flow to the gums. This decreased blood flow affects wound healing. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to have the following issues:

-Increased build up of plaque and tartar.

-Deep pockets between your teeth and gums

-Loss of the bone and tissue that support your teeth

smoking facts

Facts about Smoking

If the bacteria is not removed during a professional cleaning, and it remains below your gum line, the bacteria can destroy your gum tissue and cause your gums to become inflamed, swollen, and pull away from your teeth.  When this happens, periodontal pockets form and fill with disease-causing bacteria. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease and if this situation is left untreated it will only get worse. The pockets between your teeth and gums can get larger allowing more bacteria to get in to destroy and breakdown gingival tissue and supporting bone. The gums may shrink away from the teeth making them look longer. Without any further treatment to slow or stop the progression your teeth may become loose, painful, and will probably fall out.

3) Discoloration of teeth. Nicotine and tar present in cigarette smoke, form deposits on tooth surface and cause discoloration of teeth. These discolorations can range from yellow to black. Most smokers are aware of this discoloration but it is almost impossible to remove via regular home care techniques.

4) Halitosis or smoker’s breath. Every smoker at some time or another has probably been told that their breath smells bad. Most smokers become used to the bad smell and hardly notice it but the bad breath is quite obvious to non smokers. This is not something that will go away without cessation of smoking.

5) Increased risk of tooth decay.  The deposits from tar and nicotine caused by smoking add to the plaque build up in the mouth creating a environment for tooth-decay causing bacteria to flourish. Smoking will also affect dental work and will reduce success rates of procedures such as periodontal surgery and dental implants. Dental implants are quite costly and smoking can mean the difference between a successful outcome and an unsuccessful one.

6) Xerostomia or Dry Mouth. Cigarette smoking causes the condition known as dry mouth. This decrease in saliva is generally caused by the inflammation of the salivary gland ducts. This can in turn lead to a variety of problems including bad breath and cavities.

Some lesser effects from smoking include change in taste sensation, sinusitis, and delayed wound healing.

Quitting Tobacco Use

If you wish to quit smoking, your dentist can help calm your nicotine cravings with certain medications. These can include nicotine gum, nicotine patches, or puffers (an artificial cigarette with nicotine only). Most of these are over the counter medications but others need a prescription. For example, Zyban and Chantix are prescription drugs used to help patients quit smoking, and must be

quit smoking - chantix

chantix – quit smoking

monitored by your physician.

Smoking cessation classes and support groups are often used together with drug therapy. Ask your dentist for information they may have on similar smoking cessation programs.

Herbal remedies, along with hypnosis and acupuncture, are other treatments that may help patients quit smoking.

The bottom line is that the habit of smoking poses a very significant threat to your overall health and that includes your dental health. Education is the key to making current smokers aware of the pitfalls of smoking as well as the rest of the population who may take up the habit now or in the future. As always regular dental visits are recommended.