Dentist’s comments on oral health care
Photo: personal archive
Roberto Jones – Special for Diary
During the month of May, the Red May campaign is running, which aims to raise awareness of oral cancer prevention and oral health care. According to the National Cancer Institute (Inca), this is the fourth most common type of tumor in men, and it is more common in men over the age of 40. Diario invited dentist Bruna Lavinas to talk about it.
According to her, most cases are diagnosed in advanced stages of the disease through a physical examination accompanying a biopsy. However, the cancer begins as white and/or red spots and sores, such as canker sores, that do not heal within 14 days. We know that oral cancer is closely related to smoking, and is also affected by alcohol consumption. For lip cancer, sun exposure is an important factor, and for oropharyngeal cases there appears to be an association with HPV,” he commented.
In the vast majority of cases, treatment is surgical, administered by a physician, especially a head and neck surgeon. “This professional assesses the stage of the disease and determines the best behavior that will determine the most appropriate treatment, associated with complementary examinations. When surgery is not possible or when this treatment results in significant sequelae of the patient, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are indicated,” the doctor said.
In addition to oral cancer, poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, resulting in pain and often tooth loss. “There is an old saying that health begins with the mouth, and certainly, science has already proven this saying. Bruna noted that in addition to being the focus of oral infections, many systemic diseases strike the mouth as a first scenario.
It is important to emphasize that oral health goes beyond the teeth, and periodic evaluation of mucous membranes, bone structure, saliva flow and quality is essential. “In addition, maintaining good oral hygiene, hydration of the mucous membranes and lips are part of general care for good oral health,” he said.
The number of dental visits
According to Bruna, a dentist should be visited at least every six months, but in some cases, this frequency can be adapted to each individual, which may represent a risk of developing a particular disease. “For example, people with an index of tooth decay associated with poor oral hygiene and a carcinogenic diet may need to visit the dentist every two months.” Patients who smoke are others who require spaced follow-up, especially by a dentist.
It is also important to always be aware of some of the signs. “Regardless of recurrence, any change in colour, thickness, appearance of nodules, and oral mucosal ulcers, which do not resolve within 7 to 10 days, requires evaluation by a trained professional,” he concluded.
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