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Lerner & Lemongello Dentistry
5602 PGA Boulevard #201
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
Monday - Thursday: 8am - 5pm

Let’s Talk About Oral Cancer

Cancer is a frightening word and it’s something most of us don’t want to talk about.
Additionally, a visit to the dentist can be frightening…but that fear can definitely complicate matters when it comes to the discovery and treatment of oral cancer.
Oral cancer is the growth of abnormal cells on any part of the mouth, lips, tongue, or gums. It can also occur on the lining of the cheeks and the roof of the mouth. Most oral cancers begin in the lining of the mouth or lips, which is made up of thin squamous cells.

oral cancer screeningSome oral cancer facts:

  • Approximately 37,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year.
  • Just over half will be alive five years later.
  • Oral cancer’s high death rate is primarily due to its late discovery.
  • Twice yearly dental exams and cleanings are vitally important in the early detection, prevention and treatment of oral cancer.
  • If caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable.

Some of the causes of oral cancer include:

  • Exposure to UV light from the sun or the use of tanning beds
  • Having some types of human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Tobacco use, in all forms – tobacco use accounts for 90% of all oral cancers
  • Alcohol use

Pay attention to these symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Persistent pain, tenderness, or numbness on your lips or in your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing or talking
  • An irritation on your mouth or lip that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal
  • A change in your voice that isn’t due to a cold or allergies
  • Red or white spotty patches on your tongue or in your mouth
  • A lump or thickening anywhere in your mouth, cheek or neck
  • A thick, rough spot in your mouth that looks like it’s wearing away

To prevent oral cancer or catch it when it is treatable, it is important to have a check-up and cleaning twice a year. If it’s been awhile since your last dental visit, call to book an appointment, today: (561) 627-9000.

New Study Shows Bacteria from Gum Disease May Promote Oral Cancer

In addition to the usual heart disease that is often linked to gum disease, a new study has recently found out that the bacteria present in gum inflammation may actually trigger the growth of tumors and lesions associated with oral cancer.

The mouth-body connection has been known for a while now and people are becoming increasingly aware of the link between the current state of one’s mouth and one’s overall health — from diabetes to heart disease to premature births. Here at our South Florida dental practice, we regularly remind our patients that their oral health is akin to a window where one can take a glimpse of what’s going on inside the body.

Significant Implications of the Study’s Findings

The researchers of the study found out that two types of bacteria prevalent in gum disease, namely Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg) and Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn), produces byproducts in the form of short-chained fatty acids which in turn triggers the proliferation of Kaposi’s sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) and Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) related lesions.

These findings may prove to be very useful for patients with HIV and AIDS as 20 percent of patients diagnosed with the condition often develop KS in the long run. Aside from HIV, KS also tends to develop in patients with compromised immune systems such as the elderly and cancer patients on chemotherapy.

 Here’s an excerpt from the Dental Tribune concerning the study’s methodology and its implications:

“In the study, the researchers assessed the gingival health of 21 patients and studied their saliva samples. Eleven patients (average age of 50) were diagnosed with severe chronic gum disease and ten participants (average age of 26) had healthy gums. Overall, the researchers detected significantly higher levels of short chain fatty acids in the saliva of patients with severe periodontal disease and observed that the fatty acids allowed KSHV to multiply.

In addition, they found that this process inhibited molecules in the body’s immune system from stopping the growth of the virus. 

The researchers believe that this discovery could lead to early saliva testing for the bacteria to enable early treatment and monitoring for signs of cancer in at-risk patients.” 

Your Comprehensive Gum Disease Evaluation in Palm Beach Gardens and neighboring areas

You can potentially save yourself from the likelihood of developing oral cancer through regular assessment and evaluation of your overall gum health by Drs. Lerner and Lemongello here at our practice. By and large, it’s not just your gums that will be evaluated but will also include your teeth, the way you bite, bone structure, your current lifestyle, and risk factors.

Get in touch with us today at our office in Palm Beach, Florida!  Call 561-627-9000 or fill out this contact form to schedule an appointment with us! We look forward to your visit!

Oral Cancer Screenings

There has been an increase in awareness by the public regarding oral cancer and oral cancer screening.  It is apparent that this is an important part of your dental check up.  The dentist and the dental hygienist should be completing oral cancer screening exams as part of your regular check up.  You may be unaware of this examination but if you have any questions you should ask your dentist or dental hygienist to complete an examination or advise you when it is being done.  If you have concerns bring it to the attention of your dentist.  This way you can assure that your needs and concerns are not overlooked.  Remember to avoid high risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol.  Our office is here to make your visit as comfortable as possible.

What does a regular check up include?

Patients are often curious what an examination in our office includes.  In our office a regular check up includes an examination by the hygienist and the doctor, oral cancer screening, checking the teeth for cavities, checking the gum pockets, checking the bite and a complete cleaning and polishing of the teeth.  X-rays will be taken at the proper interval for the patient depending on need.

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