Cancer Mouth

How Cancer Can Affect Your Mouth

Cancer affects your life in a myriad of ways, but one aspect that often gets overlooked is how the condition can impact your oral healthy. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, one in three cancer patients will develop at least one complication that affects their mouth. These complications can be mild or severe, and we want to share some tips for preventing and caring for these side effects of cancer in today’s blog.

Cancer’s Effect On Your Mouth

Some problems that can develop in your mouth as a direct result of your cancer treatment include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Mouth sores
  • Infections
  • Gum sensitivity
  • Acute or chronic jaw pain

If you develop any of these mouth conditions, bring it up to your medical team and your dentist. Problems in your mouth need to be treated as soon as possible in order to prevent a delay in cancer treatment, so don’t ignore the problem.

Protecting Your Mouth If You Have Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are going through treatment, here are some tips for caring for your mouth before, during and after your cancer treatment.

  • Before Treatment – The best thing you can do for your mouth prior to cancer treatment is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth regularly, flossing and avoiding things like excessive sugar or tobacco products.
  • During Treatment – During treatment, be sure to continue the above tips, but also pay close attention to your mouth. If you begin to notice sores or bleeding gums, let your cancer team know. They may be able to prescribe medication to protect against infection or monitor problems to ensure they don’t get worse.
  • After Treatment – Finally, after treatment care is the exact same as before treatment care, but you’ll also want to make an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. They’ll be able to ensure everything looks as it should and give you more tips in the event you’re still dealing with some lingering symptoms.

Dr. Brooks has helped numerous patients care for their oral health while they fight a different battle against cancer, and he can be your resource if you need one. Reach out to his office today for more information.

Oral Cancer Signs

Early Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

April is oral cancer awareness month and we’re going to be shedding some light on oral cancer related topics all month. With that in mind, in this article we are going to discuss a few early signs and symptoms that may indicate oral cancer.

Chronic Pain

Oral cancer often causes associated pain in the mouth, as well as in adjacent areas of the body like the face and ears. The pain may be recurring and often increases when swallowing.

Mouth Sores, Lumps, Patches

Sores, lumps, or white/red patches inside the mouth may also be cause for concern, especially if they do not heal given time.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

Enlarged Lymph Nodes in the neck can also be a potential sign of oral cancer. Your dentist will check for any Lymph Node abnormalities during your regular checkups, so it’s important that you make and keep regular dental appointments (once every 6 months).

Dental Health Clinic in Bloomington, MN

Many potential symptoms of oral cancer overlap with much less serious conditions like toothaches. That’s why it’s important to seek help from your dentist if any of these symptoms crop up and persist without getting better. Your dentist will be able to take a closer look at the symptoms and see if they warrant further investigation.

At Smiles for Life, our goal is to provide you with top-notch dental care from the moment you set up your appointment to the moment you walk out the door. Dr. Tim Brooks has been providing family and cosmetic dental care to patients throughout Minnesota for many years. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Brooks and the rest of the team at Smiles for Life. Our primary dental clinic is located in Bloomington, but we also serve the surrounding Minnesota areas.

What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

Unfortunately, oral cancer can go unnoticed in the early stages as it can look like a common ulcer or cold sore. Your dentist knows what to look out for, that’s why it’s important to get in every six months for a check up.

Over 300,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year and according to The Oral Cancer Foundation, on every hour of every day someone dies from this serious dental disease. Common indicators of oral cancer include:

  • Mouth ulcers
  • Cold sore
  • Discoloration of tissue
  • Sores that don’t heal within two weeks
  • Difficulty in swallowing

The highest amount of risk for oral cancer is associated with tobacco use.

Approximately 75% of those diagnosed were either current or past tobacco users. The risk jumps up by 15% if tobacco use is accompanied by heavy alcohol use.

If a specialist confirms oral cancer after a biopsy, treatment is either completed by surgery alone or radiation along with surgery if the cancer is in advanced stages.