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The Differences Between Gingivitis and Gum Cancer

November 10, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — demartino_team @ 2:04 pm
woman with gingivitis in Phillipsburg pointing to gums

Recently, you noticed that your gums are swollen and red. There also appears to be a bump on them that wasn’t there before. Over 47% of Americans ages 30 and older have some form of gum disease, but how can you know if it’s something more serious like cancer? The only way to know for sure is by visiting your dentist. Even so, here are a few ways you can lessen your chances of developing these oral health issues how to tell the difference between the two.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It’s relatively mild, and side effects include swelling, redness, gums that bleed easily, teeth appearing longer, chronic bad breath, and irritation. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a much more serious gum infection called periodontitis. Gingivitis is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene, so taking care of your gums and teeth and can help prevent or even reverse it.

What Is Gum Cancer?

Gum cancer is a form of oral cancer characterized by irregular growths or patches on the gums in the colors red or white. It can show up anywhere in the mouth and, if the splotches are red and white or just red, they are likely malignant. If they are just white, they are probably benign. Gum cancer spreads quickly and, so early detection will increase your likelihood of being able to treat it.

Is There a Link Between Gingivitis and Gum Cancer?

It’s unclear if there’s a connection between gum disease and cancer. With that being said, a study from Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention concluded that elderly women who have a history of gum disease may be more likely to develop other forms of cancer, including gall bladder, breast, lung, and esophagus.

Methods of Prevention

Visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings every six months is one of the best ways to lessen your chances of developing gum disease. This will also allow them to detect oral cancer in its early stages and administer treatment as soon as possible. Other methods of prevention include:

  • Brush – Do this twice per day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss – Use dental floss at least once daily, preferably after dinner.
  • Rinse – Use an ADA-Accepted antimicrobial mouthwash twice per day to get rid of bacteria in hard-to-reach places.
  • Say “no” to tobacco and alcohol – Avoid using tobacco products and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Eat a balanced diet – This includes foods like eggs, fish, lean meats, low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, and veggies like peppers, spinach, and broccoli.

If your gums or other parts of your mouth look or feel different than before, make sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist. This will allow them to administer treatment as soon as possible so you can maintain a healthy mouth for years to come.

About the Practice

At DeMartino Dental Group, the talented Phillipsburg team strives to provide patients of all ages with the exceptional dental care they deserve. Dr. Jeffrey R. DeMartino and Dr. Nélida Garcia-DeMartino can detect gum disease and gum cancer in their early stages as well as administer treatment to get your smile back on track. For more information on gingivitis and gum cancer or to schedule an appointment, call their office at (908) 859-5260 or visit their website.

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