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David J. Campbell DDS
7110 Highland Road
White Lake, MI 48383
(248) 887-8387
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Posts for tag: Oral Cancer

By David J. Campbell DDS
October 10, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Cancer  

Despite momentous strides in recent years in the fight against cancer, treatments can still disrupt normal life. Both radiation and chemotherapy have side effects that can cause problems in other areas of health—particularly the teeth and gums.

If you or a loved one are undergoing cancer treatment, it's important to get ahead of any potential side effects it may have on dental health. Here are 4 things that can help protect teeth and gums while undergoing cancer treatment.

Get a preliminary dental exam. Before beginning treatment, patients should have their dentist examine their teeth and gums to establish a baseline for current dental health and to treat any problems that may already exist. However, patients should only undergo dental procedures in which the recovery time can be completed before starting radiation or chemotherapy.

Be meticulous about oral hygiene. Undergoing cancer treatment can increase the risks for developing tooth decay or gum disease. That's why it's important that patients thoroughly brush and floss everyday to reduce bacterial plaque buildup that causes disease. Patients should also reduce sugar in their diets, a prime food source for bacteria, and eat “teeth-friendly” foods filled with minerals like calcium and phosphorous to keep teeth strong.

Keep up regular dental visits. The physical toll that results from cancer treatment often makes it difficult to carry on routine activities. Even so, patients should try to keep up regular dental visits during their treatment. Besides the extra disease prevention offered by dental cleanings, the dentist can also monitor for any changes in oral health and provide treatment if appropriate.

Minimize dry mouth. Undergoing cancer treatment can interfere with saliva production and flow. This can lead to chronic dry mouth and, without the full protection of saliva against dental disease, could increase the risk of tooth decay or gum disease. Patients can minimize dry mouth by drinking more water, using saliva boosters and discussing medication alternatives with their doctor.

It may not be possible to fully avoid harm to your oral health during cancer treatment, and some form of dental restoration may be necessary later. But following these guidelines could minimize the damage and make it easier to regain your dental health afterward.

If you would like more information on dental care during cancer treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Health During Cancer Treatment.”


Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.

As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.

Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.

Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.

Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome.┬áIf you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”

By David J. Campbell DDS
May 22, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Cancer  

When you visit your White Lake, MI, dentist for a checkup, you can expect a cleaning, polishing, maybe X-rays, and a thorough visual exam. One of the things that your dentist may check for at these appointments is signs of oral cancer, a condition that affects up to 50,000Oral Cancer Americans each year according to the National Institutes of Health. Oral cancer screenings play a major role in maintaining relatively high survival rates for this condition.

What Is Oral Cancer?
When abnormal cells grow in the oral cavity, including the lips, tongue, throat, gums, and lips, it is classified as oral cancer. It can be caused by certain strains of HPV (human papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted disease that can infect the mouth. The risk of this disease increases in people who smoke or abuse substances. It is more common in men than women and may be a hereditary condition. Any patient who falls into any of these categories should watch for signs and see their dentist for help.

Common Signs
In between regular appointments with your White Lake dentist, it’s important to keep a close eye on your teeth and gums. These are the signs to look out for if you feel you may be at risk for oral cancer:

- Sores in the mouth that don’t heal after a reasonable amount of time.
- Patchy red or white bumps in the mouth.
- Unusual pain or sensation of numbness in the oral cavity.
- Problems swallowing or chewing.
- Feeling that something is stuck in the throat other than mucus.

Regular Checkups
If you’ve been previously diagnosed with a case of oral cancer, or you have a family history of this oral problem, it’s particularly important that you go in for regular dental checkups. Your dentist will carefully look at all areas of the mouth using a dental light and check for abnormal growths. If a potential issue is identified, a biopsy will be taken for an official diagnosis and, if necessary, a course of treatment will be recommended.

See Your Dentist for Diagnosis and Treatment
If you’ve noticed something that could be a common sign of oral cancer, don’t put off seeing your dentist for help. Treatment in the earliest stages is ideal. Call (248) 887-8387 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. David Campbell at his office in White Lake, MI.