Research has shown that periodontal/gum disease is caused by the inflammatory reaction to bacteria under the gums, so periodontal disease technically may not be contagious. However, the bacteria that cause the inflammatory reaction can be spread through saliva. This means that if one of your family members has periodontal disease, it’s a good idea to avoid contact with their saliva by not sharing eating utensils or oral health equipment. If you notice that your spouse or a family member has the warning signs of a possible periodontal problem (bleeding, red and swollen gums, or bad breath) you may want to suggest that they see a dentist or periodontist for an exam. It may help to protect the oral health of everyone in the family. (APP)
Oral cancer refers to all cancers of the oral cavity, which includes the following:
lining inside the lips and cheeks (labial mucosa and buccal mucosa)
floor of the mouth
roof of the mouth (palate)
the area behind the wisdom teeth
Most oral cancers are located on the sides of the tongue, floor of the mouth and lips.
Oral cancer starts in the cells of the mouth. Normally these cells are quite resistant to damage, but repeated injury from smoking, alcohol or even friction may cause sores or painful areas where cancer can start.
Oral cancer symptoms include:
a sore on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal
a lump on the lip or in the mouth or throat
a white or red patch on the gums, tongue or lining of the mouth
unusual bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth
a sore throat that does not go away, or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
difficulty or pain with chewing or swallowing
swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
a change in the voice and/or pain in the ear
Your Dental Exam
Your dentist does more than protect and care for your teeth, gums and smile — your dentist can also help keep you healthy.As oral health experts, dentists are in a unique position to help in the early detection of many medical conditions, including cancer.Dentists are trained in medicine so they recognize the relationships between oral and overall health.
Most people see their dentist regularly, so your dentist is often the first health-care professional to have an opportunity to detect the many health conditions that affect your mouth. Many patients are not aware of the extent that a dental exam can play in disease prevention.Through the dental exam, your dentist can see if there are any abnormalities or changes in your mouth that might be indications of health problems, such as oral cancer or diabetes. At each visit, your dentist will conduct a medical history review and ask you about your current health.It’s important to answer these questions carefully. What you say can help your dentist alert you to potential health concerns that may require further investigation, diagnosis or treatment by a physician.
Without an examination by a dentist, most early signs of oral cancer are difficult to detect. If you notice a mouth sore or anything out of the ordinary that does not go away or heal after a couple of weeks, discuss it with your dentist.
Smoking and chewing tobacco — particularly if combined with heavy alcohol consumption
Heavy alcohol consumption— particularly if combined with smoking
Excessive sun exposure— particularly to the lip
Age— people over the age of 40 have a higher risk of developing oral cancer
Gender— men are more susceptible than women to developing oral cancer. In the past, men had a 6:1 ratio of incidence of oral cancer compared to women. However; this ratio is narrowing and is now closer to a 2:1 ratio
HPV— more research is emerging that connects human papillomavirus infection — especially HPV-16 — with oral cancers
A diet low in fruits and vegetables— fruit and vegetables have a protective factor that is believed to reduce the risk for oral cancers
See a dental professional for a regular dental exam
Quitting (or reducing) your tobacco and alcohol use lowers your risk of developing oral cancer
When you are outside and exposed to the sun, use lip balm with UV protection and wear a hat
Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
Brush and floss your teeth daily
The mouth has long been recognized as a mirror reflecting the health of the body. With regular visits to your dentist and good oral health routines, you will have lots to smile about.
Sealants are a tooth coloured coating that is applied to the biting surface of the back teeth. The grooves on the top of the molars are very deep and is a good area for bacteria to live in and multiply. Even with great oral hygiene some of these areas will still get a cavity because the bristles of the tooth brush can not get to these deep areas. Dental sealants act as a barrier against decay-causing bacteria.
When applied it fills in the pit and groves and makes a smooth surface. Easy for a tooth brush to keep clean. The application of a sealant is quick, easy and painless. No drilling or freezing are required. Sealants also cost less than having a cavity filled.
After having a sealant placed you should continue to brush and floss properly.
Following Canada’s Food Guide, which is low in sugar and high in nutrition, is recommended.