Dentist’s comments on oral care
Photo: Personal Archives
Roberto Jones – special for the newspaper
Throughout the month of May, the Red May campaign takes place, which aims to raise awareness about oral cancer prevention and oral health care. According to the National Cancer Institute (Inca), it is the fourth most common tumor in men, being more common in men over 40 years of age. The Diário invited dentist Bruna Lavinas to talk about it.
According to her, most cases are diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease through a physical examination combined with a biopsy. However, the cancer begins as white and/or red patches and ulcers, such as canker sores, which do not heal within 14 days. “We know that oral cancer is closely linked to smoking and is also influenced by alcohol consumption. For lip cancer, sun exposure is an important factor, and for oropharyngeal cases there seems to be a relationship with the HPV virus,” he commented.
In the vast majority of cases, the treatment is surgical, carried out by a doctor, mainly the ENT surgeon. “This professional assesses the stage of the disease and defines the best course of action which, combined with additional examinations, will determine the most appropriate treatment. When surgery is not possible or when this treatment generates significant sequelae for the patient, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are indicated”, specifies the doctor.
In addition to oral cancer, poor oral hygiene can lead to periodontal disease and cavities, leading to pain and, often, tooth loss. “There is a saying that health begins with the mouth and, of course, science has already proven this saying. In addition to being the home of oral infections, several systemic diseases have the mouth as their first scenario” , Bruna pointed out.
It is important to emphasize that oral health goes far beyond the teeth and that it is essential to periodically assess the mucous membranes, bone structures and salivary flow and quality. “In addition to this, maintaining good oral hygiene, mucous membranes and hydrated lips are part of general care for good oral health,” he said.
Frequency of dental visits
According to Bruna, the dentist should be visited at least every six months, but in some cases this frequency can be adapted for each individual, who may be at risk for a particular disease. “For example, people with a caries index associated with poor oral hygiene and a cariogenic diet may need to visit the dentist every two months.” Patients who smoke are others who need follow-ups that are less spaced out, in particular by the stomatologist.
It is also important to always be aware of certain signs. “Regardless of the frequency, any change in color, thickness, appearance of nodules, ulcers on the oral mucosa, which do not regress in 7 to 10 days, require an evaluation by a trained professional”, has he concluded.