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Over 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cancer this year alone. It will cause almost 10,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day for the entire year. Of those 50,000 or so newly diagnosed oral cancer cases, about 57% will be alive in 5 years. The death rate of oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we routinely hear about such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, testicular cancer, and many others. Worldwide the problem is far greater, with over 450,000 new cases being found each year.

The death rate for oral cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to this type of cancer being routinely discovered in its later stages. In many cases oral cancer is only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in a localized intra oral area. Besides the metastasis the primary tumor has had time to invade deep into local structures.

Oral cancer can develop silently because it generally does not produce pain or symptoms initially. For patients who survive the first bout with oral cancer, they have a 20x higher risk of developing a 2nd oral cancer. This increased risk usually tuns 5-10 years after initial treatment. 90% of all oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. In the past, the majority of oral cancer was found in older males who drank and smoked heavily. Now, due to HPV (human papilloma virus), cancer affect anyone , male or female, even  healthy, non-smoking, non- drinking young adults.

The treatment of oral cancer very often produces major changes in speech, chewing, swallowing and oral health, which in addition to the disease, affects the social life and self confidence of the person afflicted with oral cancer.

Can Oral Cancer Be Detected Early?

While difficult it can be possible. Detection relies upon a good dentist who has tools that can help the diagnosis. One such tool is called the Velscope enhanced oral assessement tool. The Velscope oral cancer Marielaina Perrone DDSVELscope light technology uses fluorescence of the tissues to allows detection of changes of the oral tissues in a non-evasive manner. This gives your dentist an extra view into your tissues beyond a thorough head and neck examination. These examination should be performed routinely at your dental visits.

The VELscope technology does not have the ability to diagnose oral cancer by itself, but is used for additional information along with a thorough head and neck examination by your dentist. The VELscope will not determine whether or not the change in oral tissues is cancerous. It simply cannot replace a surgical biopsy. It simply aids in finding abnormalities not visible to the naked eye that may require further examination.

I personally never charge anything extra for use of the VELscope system. It is too important a tool to not use it on every patient that undergoes treatment in my office. When it comes to possibly saving lives I feel we should provide the highest level of care along with the latest technology to do the job. VELscope is that tool. Marielaina Perrone DDS

Is the Velscope the perfect tool?, no…..but it is better to refer someone to the oral surgeon for a oral biopsy then to have completely missed the early warning signs. The VELscope is a tool that gives us added information above a normal examination and should be the standard of care in every dental office. The other important preventive is to be vaccinated against HPV at a young age so that you don’t get infected.

Different Types Of Oral Cancer

-Squamous cell carcinoma: Over 90% of oral cancers are of the squamous cell carcinoma variety. Normally, the throat and mouth are lined with squamous cells, which are flat and arranged in a scale-like way. Squamous cell carcinoma means that some squamous cells have become abnormal and changed from their normal state.

-Verrucous carcinoma: Around 5% of all oral cavity tumors are verrucous carcinoma. This is a type of very slow growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of oral cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but can invade the tissue surrounding the site where it began.

-Minor salivary gland carcinomas: This category includes several types of oral cancers that can develop in the minor salivary glands. These glands are found throughout the lining of the mouth and throat. This type of carcinoma includes adenoid cystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.

-Lymphomas: These are oral cancers that develop in lymph tissue (part of the immune system) are known as lymphomas. The tonsils and base of the tongue both contain lymphoid tissue.

-Benign oral cavity and oropharyngeal tumors: Several types of non-cancerous tumors and tumor-like conditions can arise in the oral cavity and throat. Sometimes, these nonOral Cancer Screening Las Vegas Marielaina Perrone DDS cancerous conditions may develop into oral cancer. For this reason, benign tumors, which usually do not recur, are often removed surgically.

-Leukoplakia and erythroplakia: With leukoplakia, a white area can be seen, and with erythroplakia, there is a red area, flat or slightly raised, that often bleeds when scraped. Both conditions may be precancerous; that is, they can develop into different types of cancer. When these conditions occur, a biopsy or other test is done to determine whether the cells are cancerous. About 25% of cases of leukoplakia are either cancerous when first discovered or become precancerous. Erythroplakia is usually more serious, with about 70% of cases cancerous either at the time of diagnosis or later.

Known Links To Oral Cancer

Medicine is not entirely sure exactly what causes oral cancer, but they have found links that put some people more at risk.

-HPV (human papilloma virus): Contact with HPV 16 (a sexually transmitted disease) has been found to be linked to certain oral cancers.

-Age: Oral cancer risk increases with age; It is predominantly seen in people 40 and over.

-Tobacco: The majority of cancer cases are associated with some form of tobacco use, specifically cigarette smoking.

-Alcohol: Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of oral cancer and those risks are even greater with combined use of alcohol and cigarettes.

-Diet: A diet that lacks proper nutrition such as vegetables and fruits can increase the risk of oral cancer (as well as other types of cancer).

-Exposure To Sun: Cancers of the lip can been caused by exposure to the sun.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

-A persistent sore throat that does not get better over time.

-Loose teeth.

-Increased difficulty swallowing.

-Increased difficulty chewing.

-Lump in lining of mouth.

-White or reddish patch inside mouth or on the lips.

-Pain in the Jaws.

-Tongue pain or numbness.

-A feeling that something is caught in your throat (even though nothing is there).

Oral Cancer Treatment

If during your routine dental examination, your dentist finds anything out of the ordinary or suspicious they will recommend that you have a biopsy performed of that area. The biopsy of the lesion will be used to confirm the diagnosis of cancer. If it is confirmed that you do indeed have oral cancer you will probably be referred to an oral surgeon for removal of the tumors. Radiation or chemotherapy may be also used in the course of your oral cancer treatment.

Oral Cancer Conclusion

As dentists we play an important role in patients’ oral and overall health. Detecting possible hidden lesions before they have the chance to progress will most definitely save lives. It is a proven fact that the detection of oral cancer in its early stages makes up an important facet of oral cancer prevention and is the key to survival.




The effects of poor dental hygiene can range from tooth decay to periodontal disease, and loss of teeth. Luckily, maintaining a good dental hygiene regimen, including regular professional teeth cleaning and dental examinations can prevent most of these problems.

If you choose not to maintain good dental habits (including brushing and flossing), you are putting yourself at increased risk for tooth decay. Earliest signs of tooth decay may include pain when you bite and feelings of sensitivity or pain in your teeth.

Cleaning teeth on a regular basis also helps prevent progression of periodontal disease from gingivitis(earliest form) to advanced periodontitis.

If you do develop tooth decay and/or periodontal disease as a result of your poor dental hygiene, you may be amass extensive bills for anything from simple fillings or crowns to more costly and complicated procedures such as root canals or oral surgery.

Is Dental Treatment Expensive?

Dental treatment costs can vary based on how much work is needed to fix your individual issues. The cost of routine visits for professional cleanings and dental examinations is low. Consider it insurance against major issues arising.

Recommended Dental Care Routine

Keep your teeth clean and cavity-free by following a regular dental care routine of tooth brushing 2x/day and at least flossing once a day. And visit your dental professional every 6 months for a professional cleaning and thorough examination to catch any problems before they become serious. Your dentist or dental hygienist might also recommend a particular type of toothbrush, dental floss or oral rinse based on your individual needs to help you get the most out of your daily dental care regimen.

Lifestyle Choices

Diet (Nutrition)

maintaining a proper and nutritious balanced diet not only helps keep your overall body healthy, but your mouth as well. Nutrition plays an important role in the health and cleanliness of your teeth, gums and mouth.

-Moderate Soda, Coffee and Alcohol

-Drink Tap Water When Possible

For many bottled water is the main source of drinking water, you could be missing the benefits of fluoride in your water.

-Monitor Your Low Carbohydrate Diet

Low carbohydrate diets can cause bad breath. A balanced, dental-healthy diet can help reduce tooth decay as well as keep our breath fresh.

-Increase Your Calcium Intake

After age 20, both men and women lose more bone mass than they form so it is important to restore lost calcium with a daily supplement and by eating fruits and vegetables high in calcium, such as dark leafy greens. These foods will also help to lower the acid buildup in the saliva that can lead to breakdown of tooth enamel.

-Daily Dose of Vitamins C and D

Vitamin C and D help support the absorption of healthy mouth minerals such as calcium and phosphorous, which support the bone and gum tissue, keeping it healthy. This is a fairly easy way to maintain dental hygiene and fight periodontal disease.

-Remove Tobacco

In addition to staining teeth, smoking interrupts calcium absorption in the body and can also cause potentially disease such as oral cancer. Stop smoking and enjoy the health benefits as well as a healthy, beautiful smile.

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy smile does not have to be hard. It is all about routines and regular maintenance. As soon as an issue arises see your dentist for a thorough examination to avoid further issues down the road.




Periodontal disease is common and unpleasant ranging from its earliest form of ginigivitis all the way to advanced periodontitis. According to ever mounting evidence, it could also play a role in a whole host of seemingly unrelated health problems.Periodontal Disease is a slow, progressive disease that has the capability to destroy our oral and systemic health. Many of the underlying symptoms of periodontal disease take time to manifest themselves and are often ignored. It is important to recognize these signs and symptoms as periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal disease shows itself in many different forms including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases. Each type of periodontal disease has its own set of characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt, individualized treatment by your dentist to help slow the progression and hopefully halt the subsequent bone and gum tissue loss. Risk of periodontal disease increases with age. For younger people, dental caries are a more important risk for tooth loss, while for older people, periodontal disease is the more important risk factor. Studies have shown that over 70% of all Americans aged 65 and older have some form of periodontal disease.

The underlying mechanisms behind periodontal disease progression are relatively well understood, and newer research shows that this health problem may play a role in the development of a number of other conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.

Periodontal Disease And Effects On The Brain

Neurological conditions and periodontal disease are not normally associated together even though they are in close proximity to one another. Recent scientific research has found a link between periodontal disease (and associated tooth loss) with cognitive function. These researchers found that the risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost. So therefore they concluded that periodontal disease is related to cognitive decline. The research also linked periodontal disease with an increased build up of beta amyloid in the brain. If you are unaware this is the neurological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Similar studies have also found evidence that one type of bacteria found in advanced periodontitis can also be found inside the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Heart Disease Linked To Periodontal Disease?

This area is not 100% linked but correlations can be made between the two. The two diseases share risk factors such as alcohol abuse and using tobacco products. It is believed the 2 diseases are inter related thru inflammation. Inflammation is the bodies protective response to an irritant or pathogen. If left unchecked it can lead to damage to tissues and organs. There are two thoughts on this. One is that the inflammation in the oral cavity ultimately sparks inflammation in the cardiovascular system. The other is that the bacteria related to periodontal disease is also related to heart disease. Bacteria in the gum tissues can enter the blood supply and reach distant destinationsin the body, including the heart, where they can cause inflammation and damage. Researchers have shown evidence that this is possible. Researchers have shown that P. gingivalis (a gram-negative oral anaerobe and considered as a main etiological factor in periodontal diseases) is the most commonly found bacterial species in the coronary artery.

Increased Cancer Risk

Periodontal disease has been found to be associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk. Studies have also found a strong link between periodontal disease and overall cancer risk. The link was also significant between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer.

Conclusion

While we are learning new things about the links in our body every day, we need to follow what our doctors and dentists tell us to maintain a healthy lifestyle.




Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth and throat (larynx). Cancer is defined as the disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. This abnormal collection of mutated cells can form a tumor. Oral cancer originates in the mouth and throat, but has the ability to spread to other parts of the body.

The Mayo Clinic states, “mouth cancers most commonly begin in the flat, thin cells (squamous cells) that line your lips and the inside of your mouth. Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.”

Types Of Oral Cancer

-Squamous cell carcinoma: More than 90% of cancers that occur in the oral cavity and oropharynx are of the squamous cell carcinoma type. Normally, the throat and mouth are lined with squamous cells, which are flat and arranged in a scale-like way. Squamous cell carcinoma means that some squamous cells are abnormal.

-Verrucous carcinoma: About 5% of all oral cavity tumors are verrucous carcinoma, which is a type of very slow-growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of oral cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but can invade the tissue surrounding the site of origin.

-Minor salivary gland carcinomas: This category includes several kinds of oral cancer that can develop on the minor salivary glands, which are found throughout the lining of the mouth and throat. These types include adenoid cystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.

-Lymphomas: Oral cancers that develop in lymph tissue, which is part of the immune system, are known as lymphomas. The tonsils and base of the tongue both contain lymphoid tissue. See our pages on Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma for cancer information related to lymphomas in the oral cavity.

-Benign oral cavity and oropharyngeal tumors: Several types of non-cancerous tumors and tumor-like conditions can arise in the oral cavity and throat. Sometimes, these non cancerous conditions may develop into oral cancer. For this reason, benign tumors, which usually do not recur, are often removed surgically.

-Leukoplakia and erythroplakia: With leukoplakia, a white area can be seen, and with erythroplakia, there is a red area, flat or slightly raised, that often bleeds when scraped. Both conditions may be precancerous; that is, they can develop into different types of cancer. When these conditions occur, a biopsy or other test is done to determine whether the cells are cancerous. About 25% of cases of leukoplakia are either cancerous when first discovered or become precancerous. Erythroplakia is usually more serious, with about 70% of cases cancerous either at the time of diagnosis or later.

What Causes Oral Cancer

Doctors and researchers are not entirely sure exactly what causes oral cancer, but they have found links that put some people more at risk.

-HPV (human papilloma virus): Contact with HPV 16 (a sexually transmitted disease) has been linked to certain oral cancers.

-Age: Oral cancer risk increases with age; and is predominantly seen in people over the age of 40.

-Tobacco: The majority of cancer cases are associated with tobacco use, specifically cigarette smoking.

-Alcohol: Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of oral cancer and those risks are even greater when use of alcohol and smoking cigarettes are combined.

-Diet: A diet that lacks proper nutrition such as vegetables and fruits can increase the risk of oral cancer (as well as all types of cancer).

-Exposure To Sun: Lip cancer can been caused by exposure to the sun.

Classic Oral Cancer Symptoms

-Persistent sore throat that does not go away.

-Loose teeth.

-Difficulty swallowing.

-Difficulty chewing.

-Lump in lining of mouth.

-White or reddish patch inside mouth or on the lips.

-Jaw pain.

-Tongue pain or numbness.

-A feeling that something is caught in your throat (even when nothing is there).

Oral Cancer Screening By Your Dentist

Your dentist should routinely screen for oral cancer during dental examinations at least twice a year. A thorough manual and visual examination should be performed. Your dentist will feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity, and thoroughly examines the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any changes such as sores or discolored tissues. The use of the Velscope oral cancer screening system has been proven to diagnose precancerous as well as cancerous changes in the tissue as early as possible to give you the best chance for recovery and long term survival from oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Treatment

If during your dental examination, your dentist finds anything out of the ordinary or suspicious they will recommend that you have a biopsy performed of that area. The biopsy of the lesion will be used to confirm the diagnosis of cancer. If it is confirmed that you do indeed have oral cancer you will probably be referred to an oral surgeon for removal of the tumors. Radiation or chemotherapy may be also used in the course of your oral cancer treatment.

Oral Cancer Conclusion

If you have any concerns about your oral health or have any of the warning signs listed above, see your dentist immediately. As in any disease, an early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference in long term survival. Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered and treated. So be vigilant and, even if you do not have any warning signs, visit your dentist for routine oral cancer screenings.