KTLA5 Reporter: Patients of perodontal disease may be at greater risk for developing oral cancer than people with healthy gums. But, what is the link and how can patients protect themselves from oral cancer?
Dr. Martin Gorman DDS: People with, um, moderate to serious perodontal disease do have a 2 to 4 times higher rate of either pre-cancerous lesions or actual oral cancer.
Reporter: One of the explainations for the higher incidence of oral cancer in poeple with gum disease is that in most cases they simply don’t practice good oral hygiene. And that will cause an abundance of bad bacteria in their mouths and even the possiblility of develping cancerous lesions.
Gorman: Also, in people that are smokers and consume alcohol there’s a much higher rate of oral cancer lesions. All the negative agents are there the alcohol, the tobacco, the carcinogins plus the bacteria.
Reporter: So, what can you do to prevent oral cancer? Dr. Gorman says your dentist and hygenist should screen you for signs of oral cancer at every visit. That includes checking all the soft gum tissues, tongue, lips, roof and floor of the mouth for anything unusual. But, you also have to do your homework.
Gorman: Most people do not brush or floss correctly. What brushing and flossing really does … [they’re] techniques to break up the colonization of the bacteria. There’s always going to be bacteria present, but the bacteria doesn’t realy cause a problem, gum disease, bleeding, bad breath, until it colonizes.
Reporter: It’s well known that many people don’t floss at all the proper technique is to hold the floss on your fingers and gently slide it down between your teeth util you hit a spot where you break the contact.
Gorman: You floss back and forth and you notice just with gentle sliding pressure the floss will just drop down to the base of the gum pocket and that breaks up all the colonies.
Reporter: For more information on preventing gum disease and oral cancer logon to ktla.com