October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
This time of year always bring me back to reflect on a time in my life where I was directly impacted by breast cancer. My father was diagnosed with the disease in 2005 and his courageous fight has impacted me in ways I could have never imagined! I was motivated to participate in the 3 Day Race for The Cure, a Susan G. Komen fundraiser, which was a life changing 60 mile walk. I saw people come together to support a great cause in so many ways. I highly encourage anyone who has a chance to participate in any Komen events to do so!
Seeing my own father battle this terrible disease shed new light on how I, as a dental provider, could positively impact my patients who are battling this and other life threatening diseases. I threw myself into research, and in my own mind defined exactly what “cancer” meant, common causes, risk factors etc… I soon realized that I could have helped my father with simple nutrition habits, more proactive oral hygiene therapy alongside oral DNA testing to ensure that his oral health was in its peak condition while fighting for his life.
Once diagnosed with cancer, most oncologists will want their patients to have a thorough dental evaluation to look for any infections present during their therapy infections could be very problematic. Being on top of your game with professional preventative oral hygiene therapy will put anyone one step ahead of their battle.
The “typical” periodontal patient of years past are gone. Many patients who could be passed over as healthy are in fact compromised when tested via Oral DNA. A simple saliva test can provide invaluable information regarding specific types of bacteria living in your mouth. The results also highlight medications/antibiotics that target your specific high levels of bacteria.
Most patients battling cancer find their mouths tend to be more acidic due to medications being fed into their bodies to fight the disease. This acid can lead to dramatic dental problems for the patient once their treatments are complete. The higher acidic level leads to tooth decay and infections, and often times the loss of teeth.
There are many products that can help protect your mouth from this acidic environment. These products contain ingredients such as xylitol, fluoride, calcium derivatives and many agents that balance ph thus protecting you. Such products are beneficial for most people, not just people fighting cancer.
Please, seek out a dental professional that will be your advocate during your battle and hopefully have kept you in prime oral health even before you knew of this disease growing in your body.