Before National Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, your team at Heroes Dental would like to do our part to bring awareness to the disease and how your oral health can play a factor in the development of it.
How Your Oral Health May Play a Factor
In 2018 alone, an estimated 266,120 women and 2,550 men, will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
It is a well-known fact that the state of your oral health and hygiene is a big indicator of your overall health. But did you know that of the bacteria that thrives in your mouth, certain strains that cause periodontal disease have also been linked to other illnesses like pneumonia, strokes, diabetes, prostate cancer, and even breast cancer?
In fact, as was concluded in one particular study, “Periodontal disease, a common chronic inflammatory disorder, was associated with increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, particularly among former smokers who quit in the past 20 years.”
It is suspected that, when someone has an advanced form of periodontal disease – to the point where their teeth begin to fall out – the bloodstream is flooded with dangerous bacteria.
This bacterial infection can encourage the development of a co-infection of the Epstein-Barr virus and the cytomegalovirus, two viruses that work together to suppress the body’s immune responses. It is here when the development of breast cancer becomes a greater risk.
For Those That Have Breast Cancer, Treatment Can Cause More Oral Problems
Undergoing treatment for breast cancer can also cause some oral health problems to occur, and when left unaddressed, these oral problems can become larger oral concerns.
These treatments include:
- Radiation Therapy
- Stem Cell Transplants
- Pain Medication
- Anti-Anxiety Medication
- Prescription Supplements and Other Natural Remedies
Should you be undergoing any these treatments, it is important to tell your dentist and cancer care team about any of these symptoms that you may encounter, like:
- Dysphagia – Discomfort or difficulty with swallowing
- Stomatitis – Sores and ulcers in the mouth
- Xerostomia – Dry mouth or thick saliva
- Dysgeusia – A foul, salty, metallic, or rancid taste in your mouth
- Cavities – Also known as dental caries
- Mouth or throat infections
- Trismus – Also known as lockjaw
- Oral Mucositis – Inflammation and/or ulcers on the gums, mouth tissues, and tongue
- Candida Infection – Also known as an oral thrush or yeast infection
- Osteonecrosis of the Jaw – The breakdown and cell death of the jaw bone
- Peripheral Painful Traumatic Trigeminal Neurotherapy – Also known as a phantom toothache
By being aware of these particular symptoms, you can raise your concerns to your dentist and health care team to devise a plan that will allow you to maintain a quality oral health routine.
How to Take Better Care of Your Oral Health and Avoid the Risks of Cancers
While all of this information may seem much like doom and gloom, there are plenty of actions you can do – and behaviors to avoid – to lessen the risk of developing breast or even oral cancer.
Take extra care of your oral health by:
- Brushing your teeth, for two minutes at least, twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day
- Using mouthwash to reduce plaque and rinse away food particles that may have been missed by brushing and flossing
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding drinking alcohol excessively
- Adopting a healthy diet full of leafy greens, veggies, legumes, beans, raw fruits, nuts, and lean meats like salmon
If you are currently under treatment for breast cancer, you will also want to:
- Have a conversation with your dentist as soon as possible regarding your diagnosis.
- Schedule a checkup or dental procedure before your treatment begins.
- Give yourself time to heal.
- Connect your dentist to your cancer care team. Keeping both of these parties on the same page can help you develop a dental treatment plan and cancer care plan that better benefits you while fighting the good fight.
Heroes Supporting HERoes
Heroes Dental is proud to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We’ve created a limited edition T-Shirt to show our pride and support for those living with and affected by Breast Cancer.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we here at Heroes Dental want to help you take better care of yourself.
Breast cancer awareness is something that is special to us here at Heroes Dental, and we want to help you do everything we can to lessen the risks of developing the disease. We have plenty of helpful, loving, and caring dentists in McAllen and other locations that can assist those that are currently undergoing treatment.