Dental Care for The Prevention of Gum /Periodontal Disease Even Oral Cancer

Dental Care for The Prevention of Gum /Periodontal Disease Even Oral Cancer

Oral diseases such as dental caries (tooth decay), periodontitis (gum disease) and oral and pharyngeal cancers are a global health problem in both industrialized and increasingly in developing countries, especially amongst poorer communities, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. Announcing the findings of the World Oral Health Report, WHO said that an estimated five billion people worldwide had experienced dental caries.

Oral Cancer includes cancers occurring on structures in and around the mouth, such as the tongue, the lips, some of the salivary glands, and the back of the throat.The burden of oral disease is likely to grow in many developing countries because of unhealthy diets rich in sugars and high consumption of tobacco.

Oral diseases ranging from cavities to cancer are all serious threats to your oral health. Your oral health is an important part of your overall health. Research shows there may be a link between oral disease and other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke as well as pre-term and low-birth-weight babies.

The actual cause of oral cancer is not known but risk factors include:

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Untreated gum disease can become very serious, causing teeth to become loose or fall out.Gum disease is usually caused by a buildup of plaque, an invisible sticky layer of germs that forms naturally on the teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria, which produce toxins that irritate and damage the gums.Periodontitis is very common in most populations but the severe forms of the disease are less common. Dentists diagnose periodontitis by inspecting the tissues around the teeth with a probe and by radiographs to detect bone loss around the teeth.

Tongue cancer is one of the more common and serious types of mouth cancer. Although the exact cause is unknown, it most often occurs among pipe, cigar, and cigarette smokers and people who use smokeless tobacco. It also occurs in people who consume large amounts of alcohol. It is rare in people under age 40, particularly women. It is most common in men over age 60.

Someone who is receiving radiation therapy of the head and neck area, or has a history of such treatment, may develop certain complications including dry mouth, sensitive lesions in the oral cavity, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay and difficulty swallowing. Chemotherapy can also have significant effects on the oral cavity.

About 11% of singleton births in the United States occur before 37 weeks of gestation, and the rate of premature delivery has increased during the past 15 years. Preterm and low-birth-weight infants are at elevated risk for death, neurodevelopmental disabilities, cognitive impairment, and behavioral disorders. About half of mothers delivering preterm infants have no known risk factors. Recent studies suggest that periodontitis, an inflammatory disease caused primarily by gram-negative bacteria that destroy tooth-supporting connective tissue and bone, is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, as well as low birth weight and preeclampsia.

As with other health issues, older people have very different oral health needs to children and younger adults. They are more likely to take medication that causes dry mouth, leading to tooth decay and infections of the mouth. More than 400 commonly used medications — many of them for chronic conditions to which the elderly are susceptible — can dry out the mouth.

Tongue cancer begins as a small lump or thick white patch. Over time this lump turns into an ulcer that has a firm, raised rim and a delicate center that bleeds easily.If the tumor is not treated, it can spread to the gums, lower jaw, lymph nodes, neck, and floor of the mouth, eroding healthy tissues in these areas. The tongue becomes rigid and immobile if the tumor grows large enough. Eventually, the tumor may make swallowing and speech difficult.

Scientists have identified three species of oral bacteria whose elevated levels can be positively associated with increased incidence of oral squamous cell carcinoma, a discovery that could facilitate development of a saliva-based diagnostic test for this deadly form of cancer.Finding bacteria associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma encourages us to hope that we have discovered an early diagnostic marker for the disease.

In a small study, the gum disease periodontitis was associated with an elevated risk of developing tongue cancer.

Dr. Mine Terzal, from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in New York, and colleagues compared 51 white men with newly diagnosed cancer of the tongue to 54 cancer-free "controls" who were seen during the same period.

The study excluded people younger than 21 years and those who lacked teeth, had any previous malignancy, and those with an impaired immune system.

Periodontitis leads to bone loss around affected teeth, and the investigators used bone loss seen on X-rays to assess periodontitis. They report, in the Archives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, that each millimeter reduction in bone was associated with a 5-fold rise in the risk of tongue cancer.

"Periodontitis is a chronic disease that progresses very slowly," Dr. Terzal noted. "Seeing alveolar bone loss on X-rays indicates the infection has existed for decades, making it clear that periodontitis preceded the cancer diagnosis, and not vice-versa."

The team concludes that larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, and to tease out the effect of tobacco use on the risk of periodontal disease and tongue cancer.

Periodic self-examination of your mouth is the best way to detect the early signs of oral and throat cancer. And, when detected early, oral cancer is almost always successfully treated. Unfortunately, many oral and throat cancers are far advanced by the time a doctor is made aware of the situation. This is because oral and throat cancers are usually painless in their early stages or have minor symptoms similar to other health problems, such as a toothache.

It is important to have the teeth cleaned thoroughly. This may involve use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth (scaling). Meticulous home oral hygiene is necessary after professional tooth cleaning to limit further destruction. The dentist or hygienist will demonstrate brushing and flossing techniques. With periodontitis, professional tooth cleaning is often recommended more frequently than the standard twice a year.

Your dentist may recommend a mouthrinse in addition to daily brushing. If you develop a condition called dry mouth, your dentist may recommend a saliva replacement, an artificial saliva that is available over-the-counter at pharmacies. Frequent fluoride applications may also be recommended.Maintain excellent oral hygiene to reduce the risk of dental and periodontal infections.


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