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Dental Visits Are About More Than Cavities

Diabetics 1 at Van Buskirk & Krischke DDS, LLC in Crown Point, IN

You could probably come up with your own list of reasons to make regular visits to the dentist.

Professional dental cleanings are great for your oral health. Professional dental exams can identify small problems so they can be treated before they turn into something bigger.

That’s true whether you are talking about cavities, gum disease, or oral cancer.

These are all things we look for when you make an appointment at our general dentist office in Crown Point, IN. At Van Buskirk & Krischke DDS, we want your mouth to be as healthy as it can be.

But we can only help if you visit. To make an appointment, call 219-641-3422 today.

We hope to see you soon.

 

Early Detection Makes a Big Difference

As we pointed out above, your dental visits are about more than just fighting tooth decay and removing plaque. It’s why we conduct oral cancer screenings for all of our patients.

Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to remind you how important early detection can be.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, the survival rate for people diagnosed with oral cancer is 80 to 90 percent when their cancer is detected in the early stages. When oral cancer is detected in the latter stages, the survival rate drops considerably to 57 percent.

Knowing this, we will be on the lookout for any signs that could indicate the possibility of oral cancer, such as the following:

  • Patches of white, red, or both on the soft tissues of the mouth
  • Lumps in the soft tissue of the mouth or neck
  • Sores that bleed and don’t seem to heal
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing
  • A feeling like something is caught in your throat
  • A chronic sore throat or hoarseness

We would much rather be safe than sorry when it comes to oral cancer. If we notice anything that concerns us, we want you to know so you can get tested. We wish no one ever had this disease. At the same time, we want you to start treatment as soon as possible if you do.

 

Risk Factors

The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that approximately 51,500 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. In a vast majority of those cases, doctors will be able to identify one or more contributing factors.

Tobacco use is far and away the leading risk factors for oral cancer in the U.S. And we don’t just mean smoking. For some forms of oral cancer, smokeless tobacco is actually the bigger risk factor.

Alcohol use can raise your risk of developing oral cancer as well, particularly if you consume 21 or more drinks per week. But even lower alcohol consumption can hurt when done it conjunction with tobacco use. Alcohol has a tendency to cause dehydration in the mouth. When the soft tissues of the mouth are dry, they will absorb more easily the harmful chemical in tobacco.

More recently, HPV has been a growing cause of oral cancer. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 80 percent of the population will contract the human papillomavirus during their lives. For a vast majority of people (99 out of 100), HPV has little or no noticeable effects. For that 1 person in 100, however, HPV can be deadly as it can lead to the development of cervical or oral cancer.

Vaccines for HPV are available, but health experts have noted that the vaccine only works if it is administered before someone is exposed to the virus. For this reason, the vaccine is recommended when people are 11 or 12 years old. If you have questions about the HPV vaccine, please talk to your family doctor to determine if it is right for you or someone you care about.

 

Schedule an Exam with Us

The American Dental Association recommends that everyone should have regular dental exams. We encourage all our patients to visit us at least twice yearly for checkups.

Those checkups are how we identify oral health problems before they get out of hand. Early detection leads to more successful treatment. That’s true with gum disease and oral cancer.

Call 219-641-3422 today or contact us online if you have not yet scheduled your next dental visit. The team at Van Buskirk & Krischke DDS is on your side and ready to help.

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