Your Dentist Is Your First Line of Defense Against Oral Cancer

Your Dentist Is Your First Line of Defense Against Oral Cancer By Jonathan B. Levine, DMD From Dr Oz’s website –
Oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early: 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer in 2011 alone and it will cause over 8,000 deaths by the end of the year.

Here are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer:

A lump in the throat
Thickening or lump(s) in the lining of the mouth
Tongue numbness
Red or white lesions in the mouth
Dark blue or black spots on the tongue
Follow these easy at-home self-examination tips to help yourself stay on top of your health. Give yourself a little “Ah” in front of the mirror and check out your tongue (top and bottom), your gum areas, the back of your mouth, and the inside cheek areas of your mouth. If you notice any of the above symptoms, contact your dentist immediately.

During your routine check-up make sure to demand an oral screening test so that you are not one of the 85% of the population that has not had an oral examination. There are two new breakthrough screening tests that are effectively aimed at preventing oral cancer:

The Velscope sees early changes in cells in the mouth where they become dysplastic or unhealthy. The Velscope’s blue spectrum light causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally fluoresce, looking like a green-apple color. If there is an abnormality, the oral health professional will see the green color turn black.
If abnormal tissue appears, there is a second screening test, the Oral CDX brush. This test is like a pap smear for your mouth. The Oral CDX brush can save lives in much the same way as the pap smear has increased the survival rates for cervical cancer; since routine use, cervical cancer has gone from the second to eleventh leading cause of death.
Call your dentist today to schedule your next routine examination and remember that this routine checkup could save your life!

A New Breakthrough in Oral Cancer Early Diagnosis – by Dr. Ushma Patel, DMD

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer of the mouth kills thousands every year, and it leaves thousands more with a lifetime of hideous facial deformity as a result of surgical treatment.

You don’t have to be a smoker or ‘chew’ tobacco to develop oral cancer.  Anyone can get it. Oral cancer kills more people each year than either skin cancer (malignant melanoma) or cervical cancer. Of the 20 most common cancers, oral and laryngeal cancers are the only two that have not had a significant improvement in survival rate over the last 20 years. And oral cancer has not had improvement in the death rate in the last 40 years! The average five-year survival rate for oral cancer is still only about 50%.

Oral cancer usually starts out as a red, or more often, a white patch somewhere in the mouth. Although a large number of people have similar appearing white or red abnormalities in their mouth, the vast majority of these lesions are benign.  However, up to 6% of these innocuous, harmless looking lesions have been found to be pre-cancerous or even cancerous.

In the past, because millions of people have had innocuous looking lesions in their mouths, it has not been practical to perform a surgical biopsy on most of them. As a result, many pre-cancerous or early stage cancers remained undetected. Deforming surgeries could have been prevented by early detection!

But things have recently changed for the better. Dentists now have the ability to easily test each and every one of these lesions just to be sure they are harmless.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, regular dental exams / checkups in our office include oral cancer screening.

For more information, contact Dr. Ushma Patel at 770-623-8750 or visit

Dry Mouth Causes, Symptoms and Treatment on

Dry Mouth Causes, Symptoms and Treatment on

  • What causes dry mouth?
  • What are the symptoms of dry mouth?
  • Why is dry mouth a problem?
  • How is dry mouth treated?
  • We all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food. Saliva also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth. When we don’t produce enough saliva, our mouth gets dry and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for dry mouth

    What causes dry mouth?


    There are several causes of dry mouth. These include:

    What are the symptoms of dry mouth?


    Common symptoms of dry mouth include:

    • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
    • Frequent thirst
    • Sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips
    • A dry feeling in the throat
    • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue
    • A dry, red, raw tongue
    • Problems speaking or difficulty tasting, chewing and swallowing
    • Hoarseness, dry nasal passages, sore throat
    • Bad breath
    • Why is dry mouth a problem?
    •  Besides causing the aggravating symptoms mentioned above, dry mouth also increases a person’s risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay, and mouth infections, such as thrush.

      Dry mouth can also make it difficult to wear dentures.

      How is dry mouth treated?


      If you think your dry mouth is caused by certain medications you are taking, talk to your doctor. He or she may adjust the dose you are taking or switch you to a different drug that doesn’t cause dry mouth.

      In addition, an oral rinse to restore mouth moisture may be prescribed. If that doesn’t help, a medication that stimulates saliva production, called Salagen, may be prescribed.

      Other steps you can take that may help improve saliva flow include

      • Sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum
      • Drinking plenty of water to help keep your mouth moist
      • Protecting your teeth by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, using a fluoride rinse, and visiting your dentist regularly
      • Breathing through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible
      • Using a room vaporizer to add moisture to the bedroom air
      • Using an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute.

      Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.

      Reviewed by Jay H. Rosoff, DDS on March 1, 2007

      Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD, on May 1, 2005.

      Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2005