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Oral Cancer Facts and Figures

April 25th, 2018

As you may know from last week's post, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  And as you surely know if you are one of our patients, Dr. Powell and Dr. Tiller perform an oral cancer screening on all of our patients every 6 months when you come in for your continuing care.

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want to make sure all your friends and loved ones are getting screened.  Help us spread the word!  For every new patient you refer to us this month or even for any review of our office on Google, Facebook, Yelp or elsewhere (to help send people you don't even know), or even just sharing this or any other oral cancer screening post on your Facebook this month, we are donating $5 to the Oral Cancer Foundation.  It's a win/win because more people will know that Powell & Tiller Dental Care is committed to early screening for this disease and more money will go toward treating it.

Oral cancer is largely viewed as a disease that affects those over the age of 40, but it can affect all ages, even non-tobacco and alcohol users. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, and the floor of the mouth. Our team at Powell & Tiller Dental Care put together some facts and figures to illustrate the importance of regular screenings.

Our friends at the American Cancer Society recommend an oral cancer screening exam every three years for people over the age of 20 and annually for those over age 40. Because early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment, we perform them every 6 months on everyone at their routine continuing care exam.

  • In most cases a patient is not aware that they have oral cancer.  Oral cancer is particularly deadly because it rarely leads to symptoms until it is fairly advanced.  It is often not diagnosed until the cancer has already metastasized to another location in their bodies.  Once any cancer has metastasized, survival rates decrease dramatically.
  • The primary known risk factors for oral cancer in American men and women are tobacco (including smokeless tobacco), alcohol use, and most recently a certain strain of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16). Your risk is 15 times larger if you smoke AND drink.
  • Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer among men.
  • Oral cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, though an increasing number of young people are developing the condition due to the increase in the prevalence of HPV.
  • Close to 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 49,750 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
  • According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development, as there is not a comprehensive program in the US to opportunistically screen for the disease, and without that; late stage discovery is more common. Having said that, those who routinely see the dentist should be screened on a regular schedule and certainly if you come to Powell & Tiller Dental Care, we will ensure that you are.
  • It is estimated that approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States annually on treatment of head and neck cancers.

Cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection and touch, Dr. Juli Powell and Dr. Ada Tiller and our team at Powell & Tiller Dental Care can often detect premalignant abnormalities and cancer at an early stage, when treatment is both less extensive and more successful.

Contact us today if you are overdue for your exam.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 17th, 2018

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. If you are not already scheduled for your regular check-up, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits to Powell & Tiller Dental Care can be the first line of defense against oral cancer, by identifying early warning signs of the disease, or helping you with preventive care tips to lower your chances of developing it.

 

Oral Cancer Rates in America

Nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and nearly 10,000 die every year from this disease. It is a devastating illness: almost half of those people who are diagnosed with it do not live more than five years beyond their diagnosis. Oral cancer has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body—most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.

What Causes Oral Cancer

While there is no way to predict exactly which individuals will get oral cancer, there are some potential causes you should know about—because in some cases, you can minimize these risk factors.

  • Age (most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40)
  • Tobacco use, either from cigarettes or smokeless chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (especially in combination with tobacco use)
  • Persistent viral infections, such as HPV16
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables

In addition, oral cancer tends to occur twice as often in men than in women, and more often for African Americans than other ethnic groups. No genetic links have been identified to explain the higher incidence in these populations, so lifestyle choices remain the likeliest cause.

Oral Cancer Treatments

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment of oral cancer usually involves a multi-disciplinary team that includes surgeons, oncologists, dentists, nutritionists, and rehabilitation and restorative specialists. Our team will decide on the best approach for each patient, depending on the risk factors and how far the cancer has progressed. The strategy will be different in every case. Some of the most common methods include chemotherapy, radiation, and potential surgery.

Finding out you have cancer can be devastating news, but better to know and start fighting it than not to know that it is fighting you. If you are concerned that you might be at risk for developing oral cancer, talk to Dr. Powell and Dr. Tiller about it at your next appointment and they can show you more about how they are screening you and what they are looking for in person.  They can also discuss with you any other things you can do to reduce your risk.

Help us educate and screen more people for Oral Cancer in one of several ways and Powell & Tiller Dental Care will give $5 to the Oral Cancer Foundation during the month of April.

  • For every new patient you refer to us this month
  • Any review of our office (to help send people you don't even know)
  • Share this on Facebook this month
  • With your help more people will know that Powell & Tiller Dental Care is committed to early screening for oral cancer and more money will go toward treating it.

References:

The Oral Cancer Foundation. (2018). Oral Cancer Facts. Retrieved from http://oralcancerfoundation.org/.

Study shows Teeth are Unlucky on St. Patrick's Day

March 16th, 2018


 

 

 

 

On the day after St. Patrick's, there is a 77 percent spike in emergency visits to the dentist according to an article on CNBC.com by Eric Chemi!  And it's not just guys getting into drunken brawls.  Seems to be from accidents associated with the unsteadiness of a drunken stuper!  The data is very similar by gender.  Women (between ages 30 and 65) see a 77.4 percent increase in emergency dental visits. And men (in the same age range) see an increase of 78 percent.

The data is from Sikka which tracks dental care across the country and reports that March 18th is always in the top 10 for busiest days of the year in a dental office!

That got us curious at Powell & Tiller Dental Care and looks like we have a responsible crowd!  We do not traditionally have a spike that day!  Let's keep it that way...have fun, but be careful out there!

Resources for your local Tooth Fairy!

March 13th, 2018

 So what’s the average pay-out from the tooth fairy per tooth?

Well, a recent poll sponsored by a dental insurance company says that for 2017 the average payout was about $4 per tooth!  That sounded like a lot to us, but according to their data this is an 11% drop from 2016!  We hear the Tooth Fairy pays more for cavity-free teeth, so hopefully it wasn’t because the collected teeth were less healthy this year!

The Tooth Fairy is a great way to encourage your children to take good care of their teeth!

Let your little one know that the tooth fairy loves to collect perfect teeth and that’s one more good reason to take care of them.  But the Tooth Fairy also realizes that sometimes cavities happen, so you know the saying “live and learn?”  Well she believes in that too, so let your child know that if a tooth with a filling is going under the pillow, just tell the Tooth Fairy what you learned to help prevent future cavities, she will be so happy that she’ll still pay that top dollar!

Great Tooth Fairy Resources from the American Dental Association

MouthHealthy.org offers for download free scrapbook pages for lost tooth photos, a toothbrushing calendar, a Tooth Fairy receipt, and other Tooth Fairy resources.

They even have a door hanger for your child to decorate and hang on their bedroom doorknob when there is a tooth ready for pick up!  How fun is that?!

We hope you enjoy these fun years of wiggly teeth and toothless smiles!  And be sure to visit us at Powell & Tiller Dental Care to keep your child’s teeth their healthiest!

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