April Oral Cancer Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and we urge you to get examined today.  Oral and oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat) collectively kill nearly one person every hour of every day of the year. The death rate for these cancers are high because they are usually detected too late.  When detected early, the mortality rate for many of these cancers can be reduced.

Here are some symptoms to look for according to the American Academy of Oral Medicine.

Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. In between dental visits, it is important for patients to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see a dental professional if they do not improve or disappear after two-three weeks:

  • a sore, or soreness or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • red or white patches, or pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips
  • lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

When it comes to symptoms, keep this two-three week time period in mind, but always call your dentist right away if you have any immediate concerns. Be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Early detection and treatment may well be the key to a complete recovery.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call our office at Brogdon Dental today and let us schedule an appointment for you. Don’t wait.

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Stress and your Oral Health

We know that excessive stress can give you a headache, stomachache and even heart problems, but what you may not realize is that stress can affect your oral health as well.

According to WebMD stress and anxiety can affect you in the following ways:

  • Mouth sores, including canker sores and cold sores
  • Clenching of teeth and teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Poor oral hygiene and unhealthy eating routines
  • Periodontal (gum) disease or worsening of existing periodontal disease

Mouth sores such as canker sores can be painful and bothersome.

WebMD Defines Canker sores as “small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red — appear inside the mouth, sometimes in pairs or even greater numbers. Although experts aren’t sure what causes them — it could be immune system problems, bacteria, or viruses — they do think that stress, as well as fatigue and allergies, can increase the risk of getting them. Canker sores are not contagious.”

Relief can be found by the use of  over-the-counter topical anesthetics and by limiting your ingestion of spicy or acidic foods until they heal.

Cold sores are are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious. They can also be triggered by an emotional upset.  Over the counter remedies are available.  It’s important to start treatment as soon as you notice the cold sore.  Talk to our office as soon as you can.

Stress may make you clench and grind your teeth and can lead to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).  Contact us and ask what can be done to prevent grinding problems associated with stress.  Dr. Brogdon may recommend a night guard that you wear at night when you sleep or may have other suggestions for you.

Remember, stress can affect your health in many ways.  Call us today and let us help you with stress associated with your oral health.