Did you know the week of January 20th to 26th is National Non-Smoking Week (NNSW)? Since 1977, NNSW has encouraged the education of the dangers of smoking and helped promote a smoke-free society. Centro Dental would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the detrimental effects that smoking may have on your oral health!
All tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco, can lead to bad breath, stained teeth, increased tarter build-up, shrinkage of gums and bone loss. Nicotine in tobacco products interferes with the normal function of your oral tissue cells and impairs blood flow, which results in the tissue healing slower and being more prone to infection. Furthermore, mouth sores occur more frequently and heal slower. Shrinking gums and exposed roots can mean increased sensitivity to cold and sweet food, and loss of bone and tissue that normally hold teeth in place may result in teeth becoming loose. Sugar in chewing tobacco predisposes your teeth to developing cavities. Last but not least, smokers have an increased risk of developing oral cancer over non-smokers by 6 times. The risk is increased to 36 times if you also drink excessively. Family history of cancer is also a contributing factor.
Oral cancer can happen on your lips, tongue, gum, palate or throat. It is the 6th most common form of cancer. Oral cancer is already at stage 3 when detected visually, at which time the 5 year survival rate is 50%. Velscope allows our dentists to detect oral cancer at stage 2, when the 5 year survival rate is 80%. Centro Dental recommends regular screening with Velscope every two years for all patients over age 45 and annually if you are a smoker, drinker or have a family history of cancer. Velscope is a quick and easy screening tool that uses visible blue light to excite oral tissue causing it to fluorescence; abnormal tissues may then show up as loss of fluorescence, or dark patches. It only takes a few minutes but can help save your life. Remember, early treatment is the key to the best survival rate and treatment outcome!
At Centro Dental, our dentists are professionally trained and equipped with Velscope technology to detect early signs of oral cancer. We will be happy to answer your questions regarding oral cancer and its detection. Thank you for reading and stay healthy!