Oral Cancer

Cancer of any kind is a devastating diagnosis to anyone. Oral cancer is particularly devastating as our mouths are a vital part of our daily lives. We express ourselves, and nourish ourselves through our mouth, and oral can be detrimental to any of th most basic tasks.

So what is oral cancer? It is described as any abnormal growth and spread of cells occurring in the mouth cavity including the:

oralcancer

There isn’t one single risk factor that is the determinant for oral cancer. In fact, there are several risk factors that are associated with the development of oral cancer.

Age is a risk factor associated with the development of oral cancer. Oral cancer can be developed at any age, however, the incidence of an oral cancer diagnosis increases for those over the age of 40. That being said, those over 60 years of age have the highest incidence of oral cancer.

Gender has also been shown to play a role in the development of oral cancers. At one point in time, the ratio of men to women diagnosed with oral cancers was 6 to 1. Now it is closer with the ratio of men to women 2 to 1, respectively.

Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing oral cancer. This includes smokeless tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, chewing betel quid, paan, areca nut and cigarettes. When coupled with alcohol use, the risk for developing oral cancer greatly increases. The duration of use and amount of use does play a role in the development of oral cancer from alcohol use.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus), through increased research, has shown a connection to the development of oral cancers.

Lifestyle also plays a role in the development of oral cancers. Those who have a lot more sun exposure are more at risk of development of oral cancers. A diet that is low in fruits and vegetables is also a risk factor to develop oral cancers.

A diagnosis of oral cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. However, there are many things that you can do to prevent the cancer to begin with. They include:

  • Seeing a dental professional (traditional or holistic) for a regular check ups and  cleanings.
  • Quitting smoking and not using tobacco products. There are many warnings on packages, however, they are ignored. Even just reducing smoking can make a huge difference.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption. The risk is higher the more that you consume.
  • Reducing the risk of getting HPV is important as well. Using a condom while sexually active is very important for reducing the risk of contracting HPV.
  • Using lip balm that have UV protection is a great way to reduce the harm of sun exposure on your lips.
  • Eating the appropriate amount of vegetables and fruits is important.
  • It is also important to brush and floss daily.

Another part of being an oral cancer survivor, is catching it at an early stage. As with other cancers, it is important to catch it early so that it doesn’t spread to other parts of the body. So how can you do this? As mentioned before, it is important to attend a regular dentist’s appointment. However, a dental and/or a healthcare professional can catch oral cancers in their early stages. There are some signs and symptoms to look for, and they include:

  • Sores in the mouth that do not heal within two weeks
  • Dark red or white patches in the mouth
  • Lumps located on the lips, tongue or neck
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Sore throat and difficulty with swallowing
    **taken from the Heath Canada Website**

It is extremely important to see a dental and/or healthcare professional if any of the above symptoms are experienced frequently.

visit to the dentist

Oral cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It can be an opportunity for change and growth. However, having a healthy and happy lifestyle is an important piece to preventing this painful and life-changing disease.

For more information, please visit the Health Canada Website ( http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/oral-bucco/disease-maladie/cancer-eng.php ).

Holistic Dentistry

Your smile is an international hello

 Image

Treating the body as a whole, and not just separate pieces is the foundation of any holistic medical practice. This is just as true for Holistic Dentistry as it is for other holistic medical practices. Holistic Dentistry promotes health and wellness instead of the treatment of disease. This approach to dentistry includes both the advances of modern science and knowledge that is drawn from many traditions of natural healing. Holistic Dentistry focuses on not only the patient’s teeth, but their mind, body and spirit as a whole. It shows how dental health is an important part of overall health, not something separate. Holistic Dentistry is a way to take care of one’s teeth and gums that is healthy for the body as a whole, which includes using different techniques than those of traditional dentistry.

The Holistic Dentistry approach is one which chooses to take a different path than that of a traditional dentist. So how is Holistic Dentistry different from traditional dentistry? Listed below are some of the important differences between Holistic Dentistry and traditional dentistry.

Image

Traditionally, dentists use mercury fillings in teeth. It has been stated by the ADA and FDA that the mercury in the fillings is safe and stable enough not to do much harm to the body because they leak only a small amount of mercury over time. However, Holistic Dentists recognize that mercury is a toxin to the body, no matter how small the amount. They choose to not use mercury but a composite filling instead, to reduce the harm to the body as a whole.

Image

Severe decay brings the recommendation of root canal therapy from a traditional dentist. They will argue that a root canal is the most effective way to keep a natural tooth. However, unless the canal is 100% sterilized, the canal will not be effective. There are a number of chemicals that can be used to sterilize the canal. Holistic Dentists realize that these chemicals are toxic to the body, no matter how small the amount. They also recognize that any bacteria left over from an improperly completed root canal can also damage the body. It is for these reasons that a Holistic Dentist will not typically recommend a root canal.

Image
Fluoride is seen as an important part of a dental care regimen. It comes in both a topical and ingested form. Many traditional dentists argue in favor of fluoridating water supplies. Their argument is supported by the decrease of cavity rates in areas that have fluoridated water supplies. Holistic Dentists are typically against any form of fluoride that is ingested. The main concern is the toxic effects that the ingested fluoride can have on the body (i.e. cancer and various bone problems) as well as fluoridating the water supply being forced medication of the general public. However, there are some holistic dentists that are for topical fluoride.

Image

Whether or not a material that is placed in your body is referred to as the biocompatibility of dental materials. Most traditional dentists will not test the biocompatibility of the materials because they do not believe in it. Many traditional dentists will not even explain the difference between the fillings and other materials that will be used. Holistic Dentists recognize that any material that is put into the mouth, can affect the entire body. Many Holistic Dentists have on-site equipment to test for biocompatibility of any materials that will be put into your mouth. Composite materials are the materials of choice for many Holistic Dentists when doing fillings and they often use alternate materials for other procedures.

The important thing to remember when considering going to a Holistic Dentist is to ask the right questions. You need to keep in mind that it is your mouth that you are looking out for, so you need to choose a dentist that is right for you. This means asking questions like:

  • What kinds of materials do you use?
  • What types of procedures will you not perform?
  • What is your overall philosophy when approaching Holistic Dentistry?

Asking these questions will allow you to make the right decision for not only your mouth, but your body as a whole.